When fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes goes to trial, conflicts are expected between psychiatric experts over a deleted database and high-profile witnesses such as Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch.
San Jose (E24): It’s early morning and there is still an hour for the court to open in Silicon Valley, but outside there was already a queue of journalists and other spectators.
They stand and freeze to secure a place inside the auditorium while selecting the jury that will judge scandal-ridden biotech institution Elizabeth Holmes (37).
The 37-year-old is accused of fraud by both investors, doctors and patients after one of the most talked about scandals in Silicon Valley history. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.
Her company, Theranos, has raised more than six billion crowns to revolutionize blood sampling. At its peak in 2015, it was worth nine billion dollars – more than 80 billion kronor.
Holmes has been hailed by greats like Bill Clinton and Joe Biden and graced the covers of magazines like Forbes and Fortune.
Then it turned out that the claims about the company’s technology were either exaggerated or false.
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Elizabeth Holmes has pleaded not guilty on all charges, and inside court she is flanked by four of her 10 attorneys.
She looks different than when she was at the height of her career, sans makeup and her trademark black high neck (following inspiration from Steve Jobs).
While the judge asks questions to potential jurors, you take notes. Occasionally, she would quietly meet with some of her advocates.
They did not respond to E24’s inquiries, and Holmes never provided his full version of the story. But recently, more and more have been leaked about the defense strategy when major negotiations begin next week.
Blame it on his ex-girlfriend
I Documents Released by the court this weekend, he stated, among other things, that Holmes’ defenders would blame her ex-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was president of the company from 2009 to 2016. He was also charged with fraud.
Her lawyers say the businesswoman suffers from psychological problems after many years in a relationship characterized by physical and psychological violence.
– There is a high probability that the evidence regarding the relationship between Holmes and Balwany is relevant to the trial, as they wrote in one of the documents.
It is alleged, among other things, that he monitored all her movements, conversations, texts and emails, threw sharp objects at her, restricted her sleep and insisted that he was credited with all of her success.
Holmes will also be scrutinized by psychiatric experts regarding allegations of mental illness as a result of the relationship.
Al-Balwani strongly denies all allegations, according to court document. It was also upheld in a separate trial to avoid defending herself against her allegations before a jury. She wanted the same thing, because of her PTSD.
It’s a smart move by advocates, says former state attorney Barbara McQuaid, who now lectures at the University of Michigan Law School.
“This allows each of the defendants to refer to the other as the real villain,” McQuaid told E24.
The jury deals only with the accused sitting in the room in front of them. Therefore, both of them can be released.
A side of the sky in Silicon Valley
E24 spoke to several legal experts, who all noted that the hardest thing for the prosecution was to prove intent.
In such financial criminal cases, there is rarely much doubt about the facts surrounding the transactions. The challenge is figuring out the defendant’s intent, says Mark McDougall, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney in Washington, D.C., including for white-collar crime.
He thinks the defense looks well thought out. Holmes was young, Balwani much older and more experienced.
In addition, the defense can assert that all heavyweights on the company’s board of directors also bear a certain responsibility, MacDougall points out.
It included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, both of whom are on the prosecution’s list of 280 potential witnesses.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has invested more than $100 million in the company, is also among those who could be summoned to court in San Jose.
The list of witnesses also includes whistleblower Tyler Schultz (former employee and grandson of former board member and Secretary of State George Schultz) and former lab assistant Erica Cheung.
These are important witnesses to the prosecution, according to Barbara McQuaid, because they can prove that the entrepreneur was informed of the mistakes — without doing anything about it.
– I think I will try to show what facts were known to Holmes and what statements she made to the contrary, so that the jury could conclude that it was fraud because it knew the truth.
Former employees can also attest to the existence of a culture of fear in the company NS Sunny Balwani became president, former design director Justin Maxwell told E24 last week. He also says that, like many other employees, she fired employees early who spoke out about the errors.
data that disappeared
In addition, patients affected by incorrect test results can serve as convincing witnesses, according to former Attorney General McQuade.
It can be hard to connect with tech geniuses, expert witnesses, and doctors, but patients are just like us, she says.
On the other hand, Holmes’ lawyers believed that the patients’ explanations were unsubstantiated evidence, and therefore they tried to block these testimonies. They claim that Holmes does not have access to the data from the company’s old database to defend himself.
Earn a living by getting Instagram followers
The database was deleted after the prosecution received an encrypted copy, and later found out that they had lost an encryption key.
Thus, the results of several million blood tests disappeared.
The prosecution believes that the database was intentionally deleted. The defendants allege that the authorities delayed and that the statements likely exonerated their client.
However, they failed to convince Judge Edward Davila, but he nonetheless ruled that patients only witness real events, not how the wrong test results have affected them emotionally.
It doesn’t make sense, according to Pallav Sharda. He has fallen victim to a lack of blood-testing technology, and even works with medical technology in Silicon Valley.
You can’t separate health from emotions, he tells E24.
Sharda himself got a test that indicated he was on the verge of developing diabetes. The doctor wanted to give him medicine, but luckily he took a fresh blood sample with another company. It showed perfectly normal values.
My condition wasn’t that serious, but it probably affected a lot of people, he says.
It will change the way people sleep
Of the 1.5 million tests Theranos sold in Arizona between 2013 and 2016, at least 10 percent were canceled or corrected, according to a settlement between the state and the company.
A patient who According to local media To testify, I got a negative pregnancy test. In fact, she was pregnant ectopic – a life-threatening condition if undetected.
– It’s like selling a car without brakes, says Sharda.
– full of dangers
Elizabeth Holmes also entered into a settlement with the US Financial Supervisory Authority of approximately NOK 4.3 million in a civil lawsuit. The settlement did not include an admission of guilt, but she was barred from holding senior positions for the next ten years.
I Diploma From this lawsuit, Holmes admitted many lies, and evasively answered a number of questions.
Now there’s a lot of excitement about what she has to say when she apparently wants to take the witness box herself, among other things to tell her about her ex-boyfriend’s alleged abuse.
It’s an unusual and risky strategy, according to Peter Johnson, a UCLA professor of law.
But he also thinks it might be wise.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a good witness. He says she seems to believe what she did.
– She seems ready to tell her story.
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