Elizabeth Holmes back in court for first time in 15 months, putting Silicon Valley culture under scrutiny


Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes exterior a listening to in her legal fraud trial on May 4, 2021.


A pregnant Elizabeth Holmes appeared in court for the first time in 15 months for three days of hearings that may set the stage for her legal fraud trial.

At Tuesday’s session in the San Jose federal courthouse, Judge Edward Davila allowed solely Holmes, her protection attorneys and the prosecution inside. As Holmes walked into the courthouse she refused to reply questions from CNBC’s Scott Cohn.

The listening to, which lasted greater than seven hours, featured each side sparring over essential motions that may decide what proof the jury hears, together with how the culture of Silicon Valley may need influenced Holmes’ conduct as CEO of Theranos. The firm shut down in 2018 after a Wall Street Journal investigation uncovered unproven know-how and doubtful enterprise practices.

“Silicon Valley exaggeration happens, there’s going to be pure dialogue of start-up firms and the way they function,” stated Davila. He dominated the protection will not be capable of categorize her as having been unfairly singled out.

Prosecutors warned the choose about giving Holmes an excessive amount of room to argue her actions have been no completely different than some other start-up’s.

“I need to warning towards what the protection is portray with a really broad brush after they say commerce secret practices at Theranos,” stated Jeff Schenk, an assistant U.S. lawyer.

A courtroom sketch of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ court look on May 4, 2021.

Vicki Behringer licensed to CNBC

Lawyers for Holmes say prosecutors have constructed a sweeping case on anecdotal proof. Theranos know-how carried out between seven and ten million assessments over two years. Amy Saharia, a lawyer for Holmes, stated the trial is “going to be a sprawling mess of irrelevant, prejudicial proof.”

She added, “We have all develop into very acquainted with testing this 12 months. Testing entails many various variables. What the federal government provides is with out scientific foundation, they’ve to ascertain Theranos know-how was accountable for faulty outcomes. Just as a result of it occurred does not imply it was due to Theranos know-how.”

The points have been only a few of greater than two dozen motions the choose is anticipated to rule on this week.

One is a movement from Holmes to dam proof of her wealth, spending and way of life from the jury. Prosecutors allege Holmes’ “need to retain her wealth and standing created a robust motive” to proceed and conceal her fraud. Holmes was as soon as thought-about the youngest feminine billionaire, with an estimated web price of $4.5 billion.

One former Theranos govt who was near Holmes instructed CNBC, “I do not suppose Elizabeth thought-about that there was daylight between her and the corporate. She noticed herself as the corporate.” This particular person requested to not be named for worry of jeopardizing future employment alternatives.

Holmes, as soon as a media darling who made the rounds showing on tv networks and magazines, has stayed mum since being charged with 9 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The former govt instructed CNBC she’s “an innately optimistic particular person.”

“There was such a mythology constructed round her. And I feel to some extent, she acknowledged that and embraced it.”

“Anyone who’s paid consideration has solely actually heard detrimental issues about her,” stated Danny Cevallos, an NBC News authorized analyst. “Her fall from grace was spectacular. There are going to be a number of jurors who possible have heard about Holmes and it is in all probability not good.”

Jury choice is scheduled to start August 31.  

“She has her core [of] supporters, a small one, however supporters who to their dying day say she was unfairly portrayed and mistreated,” the previous Theranos govt stated.  

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