Elizabeth Holmes admits she went to Rupert Murdoch to try and kill WSJ Theranos story

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  • Elizabeth Holmes admitted in court that she tried to get Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. to quash the Wall Street Journal report on Theranos.
  • Holmes told the jury that the way he handled the Journal’s investigation was “a disaster.”
  • The jurors were shown affectionate text messages from Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the company’s chairman.

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San Jose, Calif. — In her first day facing prosecuting questions, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes admitted that she tried to kill News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch in a story the Wall Street Journal published about her company in 2015. was preparing to do.

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“You personally went to the owner of the Wall Street Journal to try to debunk the story,” Robert Leach, an assistant US attorney, asked Holmes.

“I did,” replied Holmes.

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The Journal’s article by John Carrerou, which no longer accompanies the paper, was eventually published on October 15, 2015, and opened the door to the investigative flood that eventually led to Theranos’ death in 2018 and Holmes on criminal fraud charges. There was an indictment.

Holmes faces 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role at the blood testing company, and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. he pleaded not guilty

From 19 November, in four of his prior appearances before the jury, Holmes questioned his defense attorneys, who attempted to portray his client as a young and perhaps over-ambitious entrepreneur seeking to do good and the world. was to change. On Monday, Holmes concluded her responses, giving the jury details of her decade-long abusive relationship with ex-boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was also the company’s chairman.

The cross-examination on Tuesday focused on Holmes and his alleged deceit and efforts to mislead investors, patients and the public. Murdoch was one of several wealthy individuals to invest in Theranos, having personally invested the first $125 million in 2015.

This gave Holmes a direct line to Murdoch. Leach showed the jury an email Holmes had sent to the media tycoon in September of that year. In it, Holmes mentions Gerard Baker, who was the editor-in-chief of the journal at the time.

Holmes wrote, “As I reflect on this, I thought I’d know if I were in your shoes.” “We are very much looking forward that Gerard will meet our team.”

She told the jury, “It was part of my effort to make sure Mr. Murdoch doesn’t have our trade secrets published.”

Holmes admitted that she was “very concerned” about the Journal’s story.

Carrero, who participated in the trial this week, left the Journal in 2019, a year after publishing his book on Theranos, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.” “I stand by every line of what I’ve written,” Carrero told Businesshala on Tuesday.

On the stand, Holmes was asked about his threats on former employees Tyler Schultz and Erica Cheung, who had turned whistleblowers. Cheung testified as a government witness that private investigators pursued her and threatened trial after her departure from the company.

the whistleblower was right

Holmes admitted that he had hired Boise Schiller Flexner, the law firm of David Boise, when he learned that Cheung was talking to Carrero. Holmes said she was trying to prevent Cheung from disclosing the company’s trade secrets.

“I don’t think she was right about the specific issues she was raising, but I sure as hell treat her differently and listen to her,” Holmes said. , who on Tuesday faltered several times and appeared more troubled than in his appearance. Taking questions from defense attorneys.

“You know today that Ms. Cheung was right, isn’t that fair?” Leach asked.

“Yeah,” Holmes also told the jury that the way she handled the Journal’s investigation was “a disaster.”

At the instructions of the prosecution, Holmes read aloud the text messages Balwani had written and received. While reading the message, she broke down on the stand.

In a text to Holmes on 21 October 2015, Balwani wrote, “I prayed for you from the bottom of my heart. Never in my life have I prayed for anything and for anyone with such intensity.” You will shine.” Holmes read the message tearfully.

In another message, Balwani wrote, “You are God’s tigress and warrior. You are extraordinary.” Holmes replied, “Coming from my tiger means the whole universe to me,” and she wrote, “I love you.”

“Is it fair to say that there is an example of Mr. Balwani expressing love and affection to you?” Leach asked.

“It is,” said Holmes.

Leach reported that the word “love” appeared 594 times in 12,000 text messages from the government between Holmes and Balwani.

It was a striking departure from Monday’s tone, when Holmes claimed that Balwani physically and sexually abused her throughout their relationship and that he controlled almost every aspect of her life, including her schedule and diet.

“It affected everything about me,” Holmes told the jury in response to questions from his defense attorneys. “And I don’t fully understand it.”

Balwani, who faces similar charges as Holmes, denied the charges and also pleaded not guilty. Their testing is expected to begin in early 2022.

Leach also pressurized Holmes about his working relationship with Balwani.

“Sunny Balwani informed you?” Leach asked.

“He did,” said Holmes.

“You can fire him at any time?” Leach asked.

“I could,” replied Holmes.

In a surprising confession, Holmes admitted that she had another romantic involvement while in a relationship with Balvani.

“How long did that relationship last?” Leach asked.

“It didn’t happen,” said Holmes. “It wasn’t really a formal affair.”

“But you were romantically involved with anyone other than Mr. Balwani from 2010 to 2015?” Leach asked.

“Yes,” said Holmes.

Shortly before 4 p.m. California time, the court was closed. The cross-examination of Holmes will continue on Tuesday as well. The defense said it would rest next week, at which point the government would have an opportunity to rebut before jury deliberations could begin.

Watch: Holmes describes sexual abuse to Sunny Balwani


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