Elizabeth Holmes’s defense questions ex-Theranos lab director’s credibility

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  • In a dramatic cross-examination, the defense attorney for former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes questioned the credibility of the former lab director.
  • Lance Wade also pressured Rosendorff to compare him to Apple founder Steve Jobs.
  • A recent unsealed FBI interview with Holmes’ personal assistant reveals that he did not witness an argument or “any cruel behavior, whether verbal or physical” between Holmes and Balwani.
  • A former Theranos receptionist told federal agents that Holmes and Balwani “worked as one unit.”

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — In the first theatrical performance at Elizabeth Holmes’ trial, defense attorney Lance Wade aggressively questions the company’s former lab director about his credibility.

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“Did you offer lab tests that you knew were inaccurate or unreliable at the time?” Wade asked Adam Rosendorff inside the courtroom on Thursday.

“No, I ordered the lab to stop testing and I expressed concern to management,” Rosendorff replied.

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“And Miss Holmes never asked you to report the wrong result, right?” Wade asked, to which Rosendorff agreed.

Wade, raising his voice, also repeatedly pressed Rosendorff about whether his testimony was written during several meetings with federal prosecutors and agents.

Rosendorff worked at Theranos from 2013 to 2014. He testified that he initially believed the company would become “the next Apple.” Rosendorff said he applied to work there after reading a biography about Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“The whole excitement around Steve Jobs was very compelling to me,” Rosendorff said. “I wanted to make a more global impact on healthcare and I thought joining a diagnostics company would help me do that.”

Wade placed a biography of Walter Isaacson on Jobs, which Rosendorff testified that he read. Wade asked him why he was surprised by Theranos’ intense secrecy and public relations.

“You knew that one of the things that was important to Apple and its success was very effective PR and marketing, right?” Wade asked. “My personal opinion was that it was Apple’s understanding of people’s everyday needs and tailoring its technology to their own needs,” Rosendorff said.

Wade also asked Rosendorff if he remembered from the book the “deep secrecy that Mr Jobs put on R&D projects” at Apple, such as reviewing new technology in a password-protected room.

“This is not the time for a book report,” interrupted US District Court Judge Edward Davila.

The fiery cross-examination was based on new unsealed documents that reveal notes from federal agents who interviewed two Theranos insiders about Holmes’ relationship with his top executive and romantic partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. .

Nicole Canas, a receptionist and administrator at Theranos from 2010 to 2011, told investigators last year that Holmes and Balvani “worked as one unit. Theranos was about Holmes and Balvani.”

“The conversation between Holmes and Balwani was similar,” the interview notes. “Couldn’t remember Kansas Holmes and Balwani contradicting each other.”

Part of Holmes’ defense may have been to argue that she was under Balwani’s control. As previously revealed in unsealed documents, Holmes can testify that Balwani was controlling and molesting her. Balwani denies the allegations

Interview notes from Page Williams, a former personal assistant to Holmes from 2015 to 2018, reveal a similar effect on their relationship.

According to the interview, “Williams didn’t notice the shouting between Balwani and Holmes.” “Williams did not see any cruel behavior between Balwani and Holmes, whether verbal or physical. Balwani had great admiration for Holmes.”

Federal agents wrote that Williams “didn’t even see the debate over the residence. If anything, Williams described the residence as ‘more relaxed’ than the office.” The interview notes that Holmes and Balwani “wanted to create a relaxing and zen feeling in their home…”

Williams recalled Valentine’s Day in 2014 when both Holmes and Balvani asked Williams to buy and surprise the other with flowers at home. “Holmes asked Williams to buy Balvani a Hermes Apple Watch band,” the notes said. Williams told federal agents that Balvani often bought Holmes flowers for anniversaries and birthdays.

Holmes and Balwani are facing a dozen counts of criminal wire fraud and conspiracy. His blood-testing startup, Theranos, crashed in 2018 after a Wall Street Journal investigation that uncovered issues of inaccuracy with blood-tests and questionable business practices.

Williams said that when he started out in Theranos, “Holmes traveled by chartered planes. But “after the Wall Street Journal article, commercial aircraft changed.”

Rosendorff’s cross-examination continues on Wednesday.


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