A federal judge on Thursday ordered the public release of documents related to Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ psychological assessment and testing strategy, partly on her relationship with her chief operating officer and mental state on the eve of a blockbuster trial. The curtain was removed.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila favored publisher Dow Jones, unsealing documents relating to various evidence leading to separate trials for Holmes, the fallen Silicon Valley superstar, and Holmes and ex-boyfriend and former company chairman Sunny Balwani. was demanded. .
The material could provide a wealth of detail in the personal relationship between two fallen officers now facing separate criminal trials. Lawyers for Holmes have suggested in court filings that she may have been the victim of an abusive relationship. No details have emerged to support evidence of interpersonal abuse or trauma.
Davila said in a video conference that he expected the documents, with some exceptions and personal information, to be released by Friday evening. Holmes’ criminal trial is set to begin Tuesday.
Davila said the court could protect defendants from tainted jurors and protect the public’s right to information about a criminal trial. “We’re living in a different time. The news is instant,” said Davila. “It’s all around us … we should hope the jury is going to be busted.”
Holmes, a Stanford dropout, faces multiple felony fraud charges stemming from the collapse of the Palo Alto health and life sciences startup, once valued at $9 billion with a VIP list of investors and a promise to revolutionize blood testing and diagnostics. . Prosecutors allege that the fraud amounted to at least $700 million. Holmes opposes the charges, which carry a sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of $2.75 million.
The Wall Street Journal’s aggressive reporting on Theranos exposed several flaws in the company’s science and management. A lawyer for the media company argued that many key materials in the case have been kept secret when the public should have access to the information.
Balwani’s attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, argued that releasing the material would create a media frenzy that would be 10 or 100 times worse for his client than Holmes. He said that Dhyan would adversely affect the jury pool against Balwani and ruin his chances at a fair trial. The company’s former executive is due to go to trial early next year. “In this case, the material would have to be sealed,” he said.
A lawyer for Holmes did not object to the release of the health records, but requested that the contents be sealed after the jury was elected. Holmes has asked to bring in an expert witness, Cal State Fullerton psychologist Mindy Mechanic, to testify on her behalf. Mechanic researched relationship trauma and domestic abuse, according to his university biography.
Federal prosecutors rejected the argument that news coverage and propaganda around Theranos would make it difficult for defendants to conduct a fair trial in Silicon Valley. He did not oppose the release of the court records.
Prosecutor Kelly Volker said potential jurors by court in recent days have had limited awareness of Theranos and information about the case. He said nearly half of Santa Clara County jurors had never heard of Theranos, Holmes or Balwani. About three-fourths did not know Balwani.
Even some potential jurors who said they knew about the case through books, lengthy podcasts or television reports said they could serve impartially. In Santa Clara County, Volker told the court, “It is entirely possible for these defendants to get an impartial jury.”
Neither Holmes nor Balwani attended the video hearing on Thursday.