COVID delay latest wrinkle in Theranos trial 

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News



The fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will grind on even longer than expected over fears that a juror might have contracted COVID-19. 

As first reported by Roland Li of the San Francisco Chronicle, the trial has been paused until next week after a vaccinated member of the jury reported having been exposed over Labor Day Weekend. 

While the juror was not experiencing any symptoms, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila ruled late Thursday night to delay the trial. 

The Holmes trial began in true on Wednesday but is expected to last months because of the number of witnesses involved and the various strategies Holmes’ defense team will employ. 

On Thursday, prior to Davila’s ruling, prosecutors released a glut of text messages between Holmes and her then boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. 

These texts, which were outlined in detail on Yahoo! News, were from the months just prior to the release of John Carreyrou’s 2015 Wall Street Journal exposé that proved the genesis of Theranos’ downfall.

These texts were largely mundane exchanges of affection and discussions of Theranos’ growing crisis, but they will play a major role in this trial. 

In late August, Isabelle Lee of Insider reported that part of Holmes’ defense would be that Balwani was abusive and controlling. 

While Theranos was founded in 2003, the company and its founder first gained national attention in 2013 when the company went public on the back of Holmes’ claim that her company had developed a test that could, with a tiny drop of blood, accurately conduct dozens of tests. This later proved to be false. 

However, the potential of such a technology, which became known as the Edison, drove billions of dollars in investment capital to Theranos, which is the crux of Holmes’ fraud case. 

The fate of the trial hangs on whether the jury believes Holmes knowingly or unknowingly touted an ineffective device. 

During opening arguments on Wednesday, Holmes’ attorney portrayed her as a person who had failed to produce an effective technology, but who had not knowingly misled investors.

“Failure is not a crime,” Lance Wade, Holmes’ attorney, said. “Trying your hardest is not a crime. A failed business does not make a CEO a criminal.”

Assistant U.S. attorney Robert Leach, meanwhile, depicted Holmes as having knowingly deceived investors. 

“Out of time, out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie,” Leach said in his opening argument.

The trial will resume Tuesday in San Jose, California.