🩸 Is Elizabeth Holmes The Victim Here?

The trial of United States v. Elizabeth Holmes might as well be a prestige drama on HBO for all the twists and intrigue that has rapt our attention. In the latest surprise, Elizabeth Holmes herself was called to the witness stand much earlier than expected. For three days now, the former Theranos CEO has testified that she did not defraud investors, but rather had the best of intentions that were simply misrepresented.

  • Federal prosecutors have charged 11 counts of fraud against Holmes. This week, the 37-year-old who was once the darling of Silicon Valley, made the case to jurors that she never intentionally misled investors about Theranos’s technology, notes the New York Times.

  • But it’s a risky strategy having Holmes testify as prosecutors are chomping at the bit to question her under oath.

Building The Case

According to NPR, several witnesses (including two former Theranos lab directors) have already testified to warning Holmes repeatedly that the company’s technology was “wildly unreliable”—a narrative that directly contradicts Holmes’s testimony. Moreover, Holmes projected revenues of $140 million in 2014 and $990 million in 2015, while tax records show losses of $585 million, which, again, makes a strong case that Holmes knowingly defrauded and misrepresented investors. Ellen Kreitzberg, a law professor at Santa Clara University who has been attending the trial, told NPR that she believes federal prosecutors have made a very strong case.

The Verdict

The Theranos case remains one of the most closely watched Silicon Valley trials in years. Why? The techniques (tricks?) Holmes used to sell her company and vision are not uncommon, even if she took them a little farther than most.