Emotional testimony from Elizabeth Holmes as prosecutors continue to grill

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — One-time entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, under questioning by prosecutors, on Tuesday struggled to recall the key events that led her to allegedly extort investors and customers of her failed blood-testing startup Theranos. faced charges of criminal fraud.

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His cross-examination began the day he shared a painfully live picture memories of alleged abuse By her ex-boyfriend and business partner Sunny Balwani.

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Amidst bouts of hazy memories, Holmes cried at the witness stand when federal prosecutors questioned her to read aloud some of the erotic texts she and Balwani had exchanged during the five-year period when they drove to Theranos. were living and secretly together in a romantic relationship.

“You are God’s tigress and warrior. You are extraordinary,” Balwani pointed to Holmes in 2015 documents displayed in court on Tuesday. Holmes immediately replied with this text: “Coming from my tiger means the whole universe to me.”

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Paying attention to old texts, Holmes occasionally shed tears and wiped his nose with a tissue. The jury saw and heard a packed courtroom, which included a man who had trained a pair of binoculars on Holmes from the back row.

The drama unfolded yesterday Holmes casts himself As a victim of Balwani’s abusive and controlling behavior while they were romantically involved from 2005 to 2016. Balwani, 56, also served as Chief Operating Officer of Theranos from 2009 to 2016, while Holmes, 37, was CEO and shareholder.

As part of her testimony, Holmes said she was raped at Stanford—a traumatic experience that she claimed Balwani exploited to control everything from her diet to their friendships.

Both Holmes and Balvani are now fighting criminal charges for convincing investors and patients that Theranos has invented a device that can scan for hundreds of potential health problems with just a few drops of blood. After raising nearly $1 billion, Theranos collapsed amid revelations that the revolutionary technology it was using was horribly flawed.

Holmes’ trial, which began in early September, is now nearing its climax. Holmes will return to the stands on December 7. His testimony could end that day, raising the possibility that jury deliberations could begin by the end of next week.

Balwani, who is facing trial separately, is expected to face the court early next year. His attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, has denied Holmes’ allegations of “intimate partner abuse”. Coopersmith also told US District Judge Edward Davila on Tuesday that Balwani would push for his Fifth Amendment defense against self-incrimination if called to testify at Holmes’ trial.

Although Holmes has been on the stand since November 19, Tuesday provided her first opportunity to be sworn in for federal prosecutors.

Public prosecutor Robert Leach, who faced Holmes, did not touch on Holmes’ alleged rape, nor on his testimony about Balwani, sometimes in profane terms. Instead, she used the roughly 12,000 texts sent between Holmes and Balwani to counter her argument that they had a relationship that was more toxic than romantic.

At one point, Leach asked Holmes if she would be surprised if the word “love” appeared 594 times and the word “love” was used 105 times in texts obtained by the government. “No,” said Holmes with a slight smile.

But Holmes spent a lot of time answering “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” to Leach’s questions about key events in startup history. She claimed oblivion so often that Leach made the phrase a common refrain “Let’s see if I can refresh your memory” while presenting her with document after document relating to the allegations of fraud.

Leach seemed intent on proving that Holmes knew she was making false statements to investors and Walgreens, which briefly used Theranos blood test at its pharmacies.

Holmes’s apparent forgetfulness contrasted sharply with the apparent memory of her conversations with Balvani – some of them dating for more than a decade.

But it seems that he also reflected on his behavior in Theranos. He expressed regret for the way he responded to the concerns of the two former employees and for their efforts to stop the 2015 publication. Wall Street Journal Expose Which helped in the fall of Theranos.

“I couldn’t say more strongly that the way we handled the Wall Street Journal process was a total disaster. We really messed up,” Holmes said.

John Carrerou, a reporter who wrote a Wall Street Journal story and a book about the rise and fall of Theranos, sat in the back of the courtroom during the moment of Holmes’ miscarriage, while taking notes for a podcast he was doing about the trial. Were were

Holmes also acknowledged that she was too quick to dismiss warnings from two former employees, Erica Cheung and Tyler Schultz, who pointed out that Theranos’ blood testing device – called the Edison – was giving false results that patients could put his health at risk.

“I sure as hell wish we had treated him differently and listened to him,” said Holmes of Cheung, ending his complaints that Holmes was being ignored, leaving Theranos.

Schultz, the grandson of former US Secretary of State and Theranos board member George Schultz, also resigned from Theranos in 2015 under similar circumstances.

Cheung and Schultz both became whistleblowers and provided information for their journal story to Carrierou. After finding out that Cheung and Schultz were talking to Carrerou, Theranos’ attorney David Bois sent letters to both of them threatening to sue. Holmes insisted Tuesday that she was trying to protect trade secrets.

The strategy soured Holmes’ relationship with George Schultz, who initially supported him even after his grandson raised the alarm about Theranos’ technology.

George Schultz, who died earlier this year, became fed up with Theranos in May 2015 after lawyers sent him to pressure Tyler to sign non-disclosure documents at his home, prompting him to call Holmes. Was prompted to call and complain that it was “one of the worst things anyone has ever seen anyone do,” according to Leach.

Holmes told Leach that he did not remember exactly what George Schultz said during that conversation. “I remember George was furious,” she said.

If found guilty, Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison.


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