Nearly 20 years after she founded Theranos, a Silicon Valley blood testing company-the company’s valuation soared to 9 billion U.S. dollars, claiming that its machine can perform a full range of tests on a few drops of blood-the rapid rise and sharp decline of Elizabeth Holmes will be in the Commonwealth The court made a public appearance, exposing Silicon Valley’s most notorious entrepreneurial failure.
The news that two documentaries, a best-selling book and Jennifer Lawrence will play Holmes in the upcoming movie sparked national interest in the lawsuit, which is one of the most high-profile criminal cases in the history of the Bay Area.
When Holmes founded the now-defunct Palo Alto company in 2003 and convinced powerful people to fund and support her vision, she was a 19-year-old Stanford University dropout. Today she is 37 years old and the mother of a newborn, About to be judged More than a dozen felony fraud charges could put her in jail for twenty years. Now, some of these powerful people may be required to testify in her trial, which will begin on Tuesday and the jury election is underway. Legal experts said that the evidence against her appears to be sufficient, but she may still be able to walk freely.
Prosecutors allege that before Theranos went bankrupt in 2018, Holmes and former company president Sunny Balwani told investors (including media giant Rupert Murdoch and Walton’s famous Walton family) Defrauded more than 700 million U.S. dollars and deceived doctors and patients with false statements. Their technology. Holmes and Balwani, who will stand trial separately, denied these allegations.
The trial will showcase the brilliance and disadvantages of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial culture, from the admiration of industry disruption, peculiar innovations and high-profile entrepreneurs, to the hype of investor cash. The case revolves around a central question: Does Elizabeth Holmes—she wore the black turtleneck sweater of the legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs—go beyond the hype and deliberately deceive?
Jennifer Chatman, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, said that understanding Holmes’ intentions is not simple. Chatman said that despite the flaws, Holmes may still maintain her belief in Theranos technology and its early promises. “My feeling is that even if the evidence points in the other direction, she believes that the idea can be fruitful,” Chatman said. “She is obviously also trapped by promised upgrades and sunk costs-if she does not achieve the results she promised, her investment, the high-level group of people she involves, and her own reputation will be irreparably hit.”
But in 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Holmes of “orchestrated fraud over several years”. She agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 and was barred from serving as an executive or director of any listed company for 10 years. However, Robert Weisberg, a professor of law at Stanford University, stated that Holmes was not in line with the white-collar fraudsters who the public associates with “calculators” such as Ponzi liar Bernie Madoff. image of. “She just wanted to have a reasonable doubt about whether she had fraudulent intentions,” Weisberg said.
According to court documents, possible witnesses include prominent Theranos board members: former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and William Perry; and former US Centers for Disease Control Director William Fudge. Also on the list are Taylor Schultz, who worked at Theranos for eight months and then whistled about what he saw; former Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff and former laboratory assistant Erika Cheung, another whistleblower.
In the months following Holmes’s prosecution in June 2018, possible defense strategies emerged. An attorney for Holmes told Judge Edward Davila that the exaggeration of Silicon Valley products “is something that has already happened.” In court documents, Sherlock Holmes’s lawyer stated that the “sophistication” of Theranos investors made them less likely to be deceived by Sherlock Holmes.
In a court hearing, a lawyer for Holmes argued that Theranos had conducted 7 to 10 million tests, so the wrong result was “a well-known one in a million.”
However, prosecutors claimed that thousands of patients had received unreliable Theranos testing, including a man who was misdiagnosed as HIV positive, a pregnant woman misreported that she had a miscarriage, and a woman who was told she was not pregnant but could have had a fatal abnormality. Bit pregnancy. The prosecution plans to subpoena 11 patients who allegedly received inaccurate test results as witnesses, arguing that these patients are “bricks in the wall” of evidence of the company’s technical problems, and internal emails show that Holmes is aware of these problems.
Davila released documents related to the “guilt issue” described by Holmes’ lawyers on Saturday, showing that she planned to abuse and intimidate Balwani, who claimed to have a long-term close relationship with Balwani. A document submitted by his legal team indicated that in addition to allegedly abusing her psychologically and emotionally, she also planned to claim that he had sexually abused her. A document submitted by Sherlock Holmes’s lawyer referred to her “potentially debilitating” symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Balwani’s team stated in a document that he “categorically denied” her claims.
According to a court document, Holmes may testify in court about her alleged abuse by Balwani.
Weisberg said that Holmes’ fate may depend on the level of sympathy the jurors have for her. He said that her newborn baby can pull the heartstrings. Her tech career may be over, and the jury members may think, “Why are we doing this? That woman was punished,” Weisberg said.
Holmes’s 10-member legal team is mainly from the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington, DC. The company is known for representing powerful figures in high-risk cases, including former President Donald Trump during the Russian investigation and Bill in impeachment. Clinton and Oliver North who participated in the investigation. Iran Gate incident. In the pre-trial proceedings, Holmes’ defense was led by Lance Wade, who once represented the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world, and Kevin Downey, who is good at handling outstanding and complex cases and representing key CEOs and clients under congressional investigation. Also appearing in Holmes’s return There is the appeal expert Amy Saharia (Amy Saharia).
The government has a four-person team of local lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuting the case, including John Bostic and Jeff Schenk from the Department of Justice’s San Jose office. Schenk successfully led PG&E’s criminal proceedings in the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. Bostic graduated from Stanford University School of Law and has a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Yale University. Before joining the government six years ago, he represented clients such as Comcast and computer hardware manufacturer HTC.
Judge Davila, a native of Palo Alto, is a former defense attorney and state judge who joined a federal judge in 2011 after being nominated by President Barack Obama.
The jury selection time is two days. The trial is scheduled to start on September 8th and will last about three months.
Stanford University’s Weisberg said Davila will preside over a trial with apparently unclear results. “All of this is just in the uncharted territory of the jury’s reaction to these strange situations.”