Theranos trial: Prosecutors rest case against Elizabeth Holmes

After 10 weeks, prosecutors have rested their case against Theranos’s founder in a high-profile trial in Silicon Valley in the United States.

Elizabeth Holmes, 37, is fighting allegations that she went to great lengths to deceive patients and investors while building Theranos into a $9bn company before it collapsed in 2018 [File: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg]

Prosecutors concluded their case Friday against Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes in her high-profile Silicon Valley trial.

Jurors in federal court in San Jose, California, have watched the government present evidence over 10 weeks through witnesses, documents, emails, video clips and audio recordings of the entrepreneur who dropped out of Stanford University to launch the blood-testing startup and serve as its chief executive officer.

Holmes, 37, is fighting allegations that she went to great lengths to deceive patients and investors while building Theranos into a $9 billion company before it collapsed in 2018. She and Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were charged with conspiracy and wire fraud that same year. They each face as long as 20 years in prison if convicted; Balwani will be tried separately next year and has pleaded not guilty.

The government has made the case that Holmes dazzled partners and investors with the expectation they would partake in – and reap the profits from – a revolution in health care, even as she knew her blood analyzers were a failed technology.

As Holmes begins to present her defense, a big question remains unanswered: Will she will testify? It seems unlikely jurors will hear from her until next week at the earliest. 

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila told jurors Friday the trial is unlikely to finish by Dec. 6, as originally planned. The judge addressed the lawyers on both sides while the jury was out of the courtroom.

“I don’t think any of you, I hope none of you, are being strategic in terms of timing,” he said. “None of you want the jury deliberating the case in the third week of December.”

Holmes’s lawyers have told the court that their first witness will be an employee from the defense team’s law firm, Williams & Connolly.

Lawyers for Holmes also indicated they intend to call as a witness former Amgen Inc. vice president Fabrizio Bonanni, who joined the board of Theranos in 2016 after it was besieged by regulatory scrutiny. Amy Saharia, a lawyer for Holmes, told the court that Bonanni would testify to the ex-Theranos CEO’s state of mind about her analyzers, that she “believed in the technology to the very end.”

(Updates with highlights of trial)

Source: Bloomberg

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