Elizabeth Holmes trial, which was delayed previously because of her pregnancy, gets underway. The 37-year-old gave birth to a baby boy in July. Prosecutors accused Theranos CEO of lying, although her defense denies the allegations claiming that she was a hardworking boss whose once-hyped blood-testing company had failed.
Holmes has denied the accusations of ten charges of wire fraud and two charges of conspiracy. If found guilty, she could be imprisoned for 20 years. She is incriminated of lying and cheating about the no longer existing Theranos, including technologies it was creating that it claimed could examine hundreds of illnesses by drawing only a few drops of blood from a finger stick.
She claimed that the blood samples would be tested in an apparatus the company was developing called “Edison.” The machine was named after the prominent innovator Thomas Edison. They also said that they would estimate the cost of a small part of traditional tests that needed obtaining a physician’s sign-off and extracting full blood vials from patients.
The declaration of interfering with healthcare by introducing less invasive blood testing knowledge and cutting costs assisted Holmes in obtaining a board that constituted political leaders and former diplomats. She also enticed business leading lights like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who invested in the firm.
“This is a case of fraud- about lying and cheating to earn money,” Robert Leach, one of the prosecutors, told judges in his opening statement. “She had become, as she sought, one of the most celebrated bosses in Silicon Valley and the world. But under the facade of Therano’s success, there were significant problems brewing,” he added.
After the proceedings, Holmes attorney Lance Wade said, “Elizabeth Holmes did not go to work every day intending to lie, cheat, and steal. The government would have you believe her organization and her entire life is a fraud. That is wrong. That is not true,” Lance said. “In the end, Theranos collapsed, and Ms. Holmes walked away with nothing. But failure is not a crime.”
Holmes discontinued her studies at Stanford University at 19. She then acquired her first business license before she turned 20 and established Theranos in 2003. She was a superstar in the making in Silicon Valley. At the extreme point of Theranos’s fame, Holmes wealth was approximated to $,4.5 billion reflecting her 50% stock in the company. But the firm lacked speculators and collapsed after several articles by The Wall Street Journal disclosed that Theranos’s machines were faulty and unreliable.
Some of the company’s rich shareholders, and former board members, are expected to provide evidence in the hearing conducted by US District Judge Edward Davila. Robert told judges that evidence will show that Ms. Holmes concurred with the former COO Ramesh Sunny Balwani to perform a plot to swindle the company’s investors and patients after it lost interest from pharmaceutical firms. “Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie,” said Robert.
Ramesh, the company’s former chief operating officer, who has also denied the allegations, is set to be tried separately in 2022. If Holmes sticks to the witness stand during the hearing, her attorney has suggested in recently unsealed case fillings that she will attest that some of her statements and actions as Theranos CEO were due to “intimate partner abuse” imposed on her by Ramesh.
Ramesh’s attorney has also denied Holmes accusations.