Theranos verdict: Key moments from the Elizabeth Holmes trial

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Mumbai: A jury in the US found Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes
guilty of defrauding investors in the blood testing startup, convicting her on four of 11 counts.

Prosecutors said Holmes, 37, swindled private investors between 2010 and 2015 by convincing them that Theranos’ small machines could run a range of tests on just a single drop of blood from a finger prick.

She was convicted of investor fraud and conspiracy, but acquitted on three counts of defrauding patients who paid for tests from Theranos, and a related conspiracy charge. The jury could not reach a decision on three counts related to other, individual investors.

Holmes rose to fame after founding Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19. She attracted both high-profile wealthy investors and board members including media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Here are the key moments from her trial.

Former Secretary of Defense testifies

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September 23: Arguably the most high-profile person to take the stand, other than Holmes, was James Mattis, a retired four-star general who served as Secretary of Defense under former US President Donald Trump and sat on Theranos’ board from 2013 to 2016. The prosecution said bringing highly credible people such as Mattis on board was one of the ways in which Holmes used “borrowed credibility” to perpetuate the fraud.

Mattis said he was interested in the device’s possible military applications because he thought it could perform the range of blood tests the company claimed it could. “I would not have been interested in it were it not,” he said.

Lab director’s damaging testimony

November 9, 2021: The company’s lab director, Kingshuk Das took the stand. He joined the company in 2015 and reported directly to Holmes. He told jurors that In the final two years of Theranos, Holmes ignored his repeated complaints about serious errors with the start up’s blood-testing technology. His testimony proved damaging as it revealed that Holmes was aware that the tests were not reliable, yet continued to promote them.

Holmes takes the stand

November 20-27, 2021: One of the biggest questions around the trial was whether Holmes would take the stand in her own defence. In the end, she testified for nearly 24 hours over seven court days.

While Holmes was largely calm, even smiling at times, she became emotional at several points while talking about her ex-boyfriend Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, Theranos’ former president and chief operating officer. Balwani, who faces the same charges as Holmes and has pleaded not guilty, is set to be tried soon.

‘Theranos cared more about PR and fundraising’

October 1 to 6, 2021: Adam Rosendorff, Theranos’ lab director from April 2013 to November 2014, told jurors he left the company feeling “very sceptical” about the accuracy and reliability of its tests. He said he felt it was a question of his integrity as a physician if he were to continue to endorse test results he “didn’t have faith in”. He said he came to believe that the company cared more about PR and fundraising than about patient care.

Conspicuous by their absence

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, another high-profile board member and one of Holmes’s most vocal backers, was on the government’s list of possible witnesses but ultimately did not take the stand. Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, another major backer who was also listed as a witness, did not testify either.

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