Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes faces a jury of seven men and five women

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes faces a jury of seven men and five women

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood testing and life sciences company Theranos, attends the first day of jury selection in her Federal Court fraud trial on August 31, 2021 in San Jose, California.

Nick Otto | AFP | Getty Images

SAN JOSE, Calif .– A jury of seven men and five women will decide the fate of Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

The 12-person panel was selected after two days of intense questioning about their knowledge of the company’s failed blood tests. If convicted, Holmes faces 20 years in prison

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have settled on a diverse set of jurors when it comes to race, gender and age. With five choices – two men and three women – jurors were sworn in Thursday morning in a federal courtroom in San Jose, California. Opening statements are due to begin on Wednesday.

Holmes, who was a paper billionaire by virtue of his stake in Theranos, faces a dozen charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud investors and patients over his company’s technology. He pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

Holmes left Stanford in 2003 to start Theranos at the age of 19. He has raised billions of dollars from investors such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Walton family. Some investors are expected to testify at trial.

The company’s downfall began in 2015, when former Wall Street Journal reporter John Carrerou ran a series of damaging articles exposing the questionable business practices and technological limitations of Theranos.

During jury questioning, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila, who is presiding over the trial, reminded potential jurors of the importance of avoiding the media, a particular challenge in a case that has hit Silicon Valley and America. Attracts huge coverage around the world.

A member of the jury, an older white man, said “oh boy” after his name was called to join the jury podium.

“Let’s be clear, they know the media are interested in this matter,” Davila told the courtroom on Wednesday. He repeatedly told jurors to “shut down this news feed.”

The two days of jury selection were tense and dramatic at times, with dozens of potential jurors admitting to having prior knowledge of Holmes and Theranos. Some even expressed dismay upon learning of Holmes’ dramatic fall from grace.

“There aren’t many women who become CEOs of a big power corporation,” a potential juror who had read Carrerou’s book “Bad Blood” told Davila on Tuesday.

Another potential juror said he had followed her through Theranos’ rise and admitted he was “disappointed because I thought the company was great.”

Some of the interrogators also became moved as they shared their tragic experiences of domestic violence. It comes after newly sealed documents revealed that Holmes was planning to have an expert testify that Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and former COO of Theranos, had abused her intimate partner. made.

Balwani denies claims that he will be tried separately for his role in the Theranos scandal.

To concern: The outcome of the trial will depend on Holmes’ defense as the lover’s puppet.

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