James Mattis testifies in Elizabeth Holmes-Theranos fraud trial

James Mattis testifies in Elizabeth Holmes-Theranos fraud trial

Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis September 3, 2019 in New York City.

Steven Ferdman | Getty Images

SAN JOSE, Calif .– Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Wednesday he was “apparently amazed” at what was possible at first as a member of Theranos’ board of directors, but that he is then became disillusioned with the business. Gaya.

“We were risking our reputation, and reputational risk is something I pay a lot of attention to from my background,” Mattis said at the stand in the lawsuit against former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Mattis, a retired four-star general, served on Theranos’ board of directors from 2013 to December 2016 and was the first prominent witness since the trial began last month. The jury listened intently to his testimony, which lasted three hours.

“Looking back, I am disappointed with Ms. Holmes’ level of transparency,” said Mattis. “We were denied the basic problems,” he said.

Mattis was the seventh witness called by the government to testify in the case. Holmes is fighting 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy involving swindled investors and patients. He promised not to be guilty.

“I was not a doctor”

Mattis says he met Holmes after an event in San Francisco where he pricked his finger to demonstrate his blood drawing technique.

He said his first impression of the CEO was “sharp, clear, engaged,” but was initially reluctant to accept Holmes’ invitation to join the board.

“I asked him ‘why’, I wasn’t a doctor,” Mattis said. He recalled that Holmes had told him it was about people, management, how to get people engaged, helping him build a corporate culture of “building great teams. ‘elite to help build a corporate culture at all levels’.

Matisse finally agreed to join us, testifying that he went to a bookstore “and bought two books and two brochures to learn about being a member of the board of directors.” Mattis revealed that he invested $ 85,000 in Theranos and was paid $ 150,000 to serve on its board of directors.

“Is this a significant investment for you? Asked John Bostic, a deputy US lawyer.

“For someone who has been in government for 40 years, yes,” Mattis said.

Other prominent government figures on the board included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz.

During cross-examination, defense attorneys reported on an email from February 2015 in which Holmes wrote to Mattis that she and Ramesh Balwani, her senior manager and sometimes dating partner, were to be paid in stock options at instead of a salary. wanted to.

“At the time, I felt he had complete confidence in his business,” Mattis said.

Lawyers for Holmes also said board members were knowledgeable and knowledgeable enough to voice their opinions and ask questions if they had any concerns. Mattis agreed.

Defense attorneys also discussed the ultimate need for Holmes’ security team. “Did you think it was necessary for him to provide that kind of protection?” Kevin Downey, Holmes’ defense attorney, asked.

“Secretary Schultz called me because he feared his public profile was a threat to him,” recalls Mattis. Mattis introduced Holmes to his longtime chief bodyguard.

“I was in his hands, I thought he had good judgment and that Secretary Schultz probably knew more about the civilian world and the dangers to magazine front people,” said Mattis.

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