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 many potential jurors don’t know anything about the case.” Impartiality is also an issue in high-profile cases, but “impartiality does not require ignorance,” in the words of a previous Federal decision in the Enron CEO’s criminal case.
The jury will also hear testimony from patients and doctors who used Theranos tests and said they got inaccurate results. The testimony will be limited to facts about the inaccurate test and the money they lost by paying for it. Emotional and physical harm will be off-limits. Fox Business What won’t be admissible, at least for now, is how Theranos “destroyed” its Laboratory Information System, or LIS, database. The defense argued that the prosecution took years to acquire it and then sat on the evidence. Judge Davila reserved the right to revisit that issue if appropriate. Fox Business
Elizabeth Holmes cannot keep her 13 emails with law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP out of the trial on attorney-client privilege grounds. US magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins ruled that it did not apply to these emails since Boies Schiller was the corporation’s legal counsel and not hired by her personally. According to the Wall Street Journal (partial article as paywalled), the receiver who wound down Theranos after it closed in 2018 waived the company’s privilege to the documents, yet another factor. Boies Schiller represented Theranos up to 2016. Managing partner David Boies was a Theranos board director and a bulldog of an advocate from the company until then. Mr. Boies is now aged 80 and remains chairman of the law firm. (One wonders if the well-seasoned litigator, or his deposition, will be part of the trial.)
Judge Davila has also set the trial schedule–three days per week from late August into December, earlier disclosed as Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with relatively short days to fight ‘juror fatigue’. Since Elizabeth Holmes will also have delivered her child by the time the trial starts, there will be a “quiet room” in the courthouse provided for her special needs during the trial.