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What you should know before day 7 of the Elizabeth Holmes trial




SAN JOSE, California – The deliberations in the trial against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the startup of blood tests Theranos, stretched into its seventh day on Monday, with jurors giving few clues as to how close they may be to a decision.

The jury of eight men and four women has spent over 43 hours so far assessing whether Holmes, 37, is guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit online fraud and nine counts of fraud. Each fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Jury members have not asked questions in court since December 23, when they asked to hear audio recordings in which Holmes allegedly misled investors about Theranos̵[ads1]7; business dealings. They also asked to bring jury instructions home, which the court rejected.

It is not uncommon for deliberations in white-collar cases to be lengthy, especially in complex fraud cases where the accused is charged with several counts that extend over several years. In 2007, a jury took 12 days to convict Conrad Black, a press mogul, of fraud after a 14-week trial involving 13 counts. Martin Shkreli, the infamous former hedge fund manager, was convicted of securities fraud after five days of deliberations in 2017 following a five-week trial.

In Ms. In Holme’s case, the jury must sift through 14 weeks of testimony and over 900 pieces of evidence when deciding whether Ms. Holmes deliberately tricked investors, patients and advertisers in the search for investment and business for her start-up of blood tests. Ms. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003. She dropped out of Stanford in 2004 and spent the next decade raising nearly $ 1 billion from investors and signing contracts with Walgreens and Safeway.

But The Wall Street Journal revealed in 2015 that Theranos ‘blood tests could only perform a dozen tests, contrary to Holmes’ claims of over 1,000 to investors, business partners and the public. Theranos was officially closed in 2018 in the middle of a scandal.

For many, the saga represents the worst excesses in Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, where the founders regularly stretch the truth in search of wealth and fame. However, such founders are rarely prosecuted.

Prosecutors called 29 witnesses as they tried to prove that Holmes “chose fraud over business failure,” as Jeff Schenk, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in closing arguments.

The defense’s case is based primarily on Holme’s own testimony. She said she believed her own allegations and pointed fingers at senior employees, including Ramesh Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and Therano’s former operations manager. Mr. Balwani, who is facing identical charges, is scheduled to stand trial from February.



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