This week’s update as Elizabeth Holmes’ Federal trial nears its 31 August start. The defense’s 112-page whopper of a jury selection questionnaire was, as most expected, nixed by Judge Edward Davila. He provided the defense with a slimmed-down version that apparently, from press reports, edited the media coverage issues. The prosecution had previously objected to the length, intrusiveness, and over-specificity around juror media usage. Judge Davila remarked in Tuesday’s hearing that jurors could be asked about their sources of news in an open-ended response. According to the Fox Business report, “He said both sides might be surprised to see how... Continue Reading
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The Theranos Story, ch. 73: the defense tries to stack the jury deck in Holmes’ favor, prosecutors say. And Theranos swag and memes are hot!
Law and Order Proceeds. For those of us who follow US trials, or have served on a local or county jury, smart attorneys do a fair amount of ruling jurors in–and out. The voir dire process in high-profile trials is critical. Jury consultants make comfortable livings creating profiles of their ‘ideal juror’. Thus it should not be a surprise that Elizabeth Holmes’ spare-no-expense-or-strategem defense would file in May with the court an over-the-top 41-page, 112 question jury document. Their rationale is to screen jurors for issues related to the extensive news coverage around la scandale Theranos, Holmes herself, and even... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 72: a little lifestyle and celebrity is admissible at trial–but not too much. And no profanity, please!
The long-awaited update from the US District Court in San Jose. Judge Edward Davila ruled last Friday limiting the specifics on Elizabeth Holmes’ lifestyle that the prosecution wanted to present as evidence. Only general evidence of Elizabeth Holmes’ Silicon Valley CEO lifestyle would be admissible. The prosecution, in his words, “Each time Holmes made an extravagant purchase, it is reasonable to infer that she knew her fraudulent activity allowed her to pay for those items,” but that “Evidence of Holmes’s wealth can be construed as ‘appeals to class prejudice’ which are considered ‘highly improper’ because they ‘may so poison the... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 71: Holmes appears in court, lawyers argue celebrity, lavish lifestyle, Silicon Valley ethics
After 15 months, Elizabeth Holmes puts in her Day in Court. Last Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s hearings in US District Court in San Jose were not virtual, but in court–and with Ms. Holmes present. The arguments between counsel were about what would be admissible; the relevance of her lifestyle (fine dining, houses, private jets), her wealth, spending, and celebrity to the charges of criminal fraud, first of hundreds of millions of dollars by investors plus patients and doctors with false claims that the Theranos labs actually gave accurate readings. The defense argued that admitting information on the lifestyle and spending behavior... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 70: the lab director turns Federal evidence
A Tasty Appetizer of what awaits in July in Federal District Court, San Jose, showed up in the Wall Street Journal today (paywalled, link to full article below). Theranos‘ lab director Kingshuk Das, MD will testify in Elizabeth Holmes’ trial that the Theranos lab and technology did not work accurately enough to use–and that the company’s leaders ‘pushed back’ against his assessment. Dr. Das’ comments, revealed in new court filings, represent his most extensive (and only revealed, in this Editor’s estimation) remarks on Theranos. His one-hour interview with Federal agents took place on 1 February. They indicate that Federal prosecutors... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 69: Elizabeth Holmes ‘faked it till she made it’–like other Silicon Valley startups? (Updated)
Lifestyles of the Rich, Famous, and Busted, Silicon Valley Style. As promised by the prosecution in the cases being brought against Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO/founder of Theranos, and separately with COO Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, they are proceeding with filings that connect Theranos’ continued defrauding of investors with Holmes’ extravagant lifestyle and desire for fame. “The causal connection between Defendant’s fraud and the benefits at issue is strong,” the filing stated, going on to detail how the fraud funded hotels, private jet travel, and “multiple assistants” paid by the company who also assisted with her personal needs. “In addition to the... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 68: the texts told the tech failure–and please omit Holmes’ ‘luxurious lifestyle’ and profane meeting language from trial
The trials of Elizabeth Holmes and ‘Sunny’ Balwani churn on towards a March 2021 court date. Two major revelations have entered the record from last Friday 20 November’s flurry of filings on both sides. The prosecution introduced panicky Holmes/Balwani texts, iMessages, and Skype messages indicating that Theranos was having major trouble with validating its lab technology from 2014 on. One text from Balwani described a lab as a ‘disaster zone’. “The spreadsheets are replete with admissions by defendant and Balwani that demonstrate their knowledge that their statements to investors were false and misleading and that Theranos’s testing was beset with... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 67: the Holmes/Balwani indictments stay, Holmes’ defense strategy fails
What Elizabeth Holmes needs is Perry Mason and a good scriptwriter from the 1960s. On Tuesday, Judge Edward Davila hit the ‘REJECT’ button on Holmes and ‘Sunny’ Balwani’s six motions since August to have the July indictments by a grand jury–a second indictment of 14 July, then a third and operative charging document of 28 July, dismissed. In a single compact, well-reasoned order, all six motions were denied for both cases: Pre-indictment delay. The first indictment was made in June 2018. The findings were that the delays were due to defense motions which were agreed to by the government and... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 66: Walgreens and Safeway aren’t investors, they’re business partners!
The difference is not hair-splitting in the defense effort to have charges tossed. In Federal District Court on Tuesday (6 October) in San Jose, Elizabeth Holmes’ defense made the case to Judge Edward Davila on dismissing some of the prosecution’s charges against her. As petitioned in late August, the defense maintains that two of the entities, Walgreens Boots and Safeway (a Western regional supermarket chain), were unfairly classified as investors versus ‘business partners’. As investors, the prosecution could charge Holmes with fraud crimes with a longer statute of limitations. If they were to be classified as business partners and ‘transactions’,... Continue Reading
The Theranos Story, ch. 65: Elizabeth Holmes’ “mental disease or defect” defense revealed
Going the ‘Twinkie Defense’ one better? While this Editor was enjoying a much-needed break from the Insanity of the World, hurtling across the wires was the revelation that Elizabeth Holmes’ pricey defense attorneys have prepared a defense for her that includes evidence “relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing on the issue of guilt.” Interpreted, her mental state may have affected her intent and judgment in her business dealings. According to the filing, the defense is introducing testimony from Mindy Mechanic, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and professor at California State University... Continue Reading
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