The jury weighing fraud charges against former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will resume their lengthy deliberations amid some intrigue raised by a closed-door meeting among her lawyers, federal prosecutors and the judge presiding the case.
United States District Judge Edward Davila held the “in camera” hearing on Tuesday morning with two of Holmes’s lawyers, Kevin Downey and Lance Wade, along with two of the prosecutors, Jeffrey Schenk and Robert Leach, according to a court filing late Tuesday night. Holmes was not present at the 23-minute hearing.
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The hearing transcript has been sealed, leaving the topics discussed a mystery. But it is not unusual for plea agreement discussions to take place while a jury deliberates over charges, especially the longer it takes to reach a verdict.
Holmes, 37, is facing 11 criminal charges alleging that she duped investors and patients by hailing her company’s blood-testing technology as a medical breakthrough when, in fact, it was prone to wild errors. If she is convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison.
The eight men and four women on the jury have been meeting in a San Jose, California federal court after absorbing reams of evidence in a three-month trial that captivated Silicon Valley.
Last week, the jury sent out two notes to US District Judge Edward Davila – one making a swiftly rejected request to take their instructions home with them for further study and another that that allowed them a replay of a 2013 recording of Holmes discussing Theranos’ dealings with prospective investors.
The jurors have not provided any clues as to how far along they are in their deliberations during their first two days of discussions this week.
The case has attracted worldwide attention. At its core is the rise and fall of Holmes, who started Theranos as a 19-year-old college dropout and then went on to break through Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture with her bold claims and fundraising savvy. She become a billionaire on paper before it all evaporated amid allegations she was more of a charlatan than an entrepreneur.