Prosecutors accused Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes of ‘lying and cheating’ as opening statements obtained under way in her highly-anticipated fraud trial.
Opening statements obtained under way within the extremely anticipated $9bn fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, with prosecutors portraying her as a liar and her defence crew insisting she was merely a hardworking biotech boss whose once-hyped blood-testing startup had failed.
Holmes, 37, has pleaded not responsible to 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. She might face 20 years in jail if convicted.
She is accused of making false claims concerning the now-defunct Theranos, together with applied sciences it was creating that it claimed might check for a whole lot of ailments by extracting just a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
Holmes stated that the blood samples can be examined in a machine it was designing named “Edison” after the well-known inventor Thomas Edison, and that they might price a fraction of conventional assessments that required a health care provider’s sign-off and drawing complete vials of blood from a affected person.
The promise of disrupting healthcare with a lower-cost, much less invasive blood-testing know-how helped Holmes safe a marquee board that included politicians and former diplomats. She additionally attracted investments from enterprise luminaries corresponding to media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.
“This is a case about fraud – about lying and cheating to get money,” Robert Leach, a member of the prosecution crew, informed jurors throughout his opening assertion.
“She had become, as she sought, one of the most celebrated CEOs in Silicon Valley and the world. But under the facade of Theranos’s success there were significant problems brewing,” Leach added.
Holmes lawyer Lance Wade spoke after the prosecution.
“Elizabeth Holmes did not go to work every day intending to lie, cheat and steal. The government would have you believe her company, her entire life, is a fraud. That is wrong. That is not true,” Wade stated. “In the end, Theranos failed and Ms Holmes walked away with nothing. But failure is not a crime.”
Holmes had a backstory worthy of a Silicon Valley legend within the making. A Stanford University dropout at age 19, she filed her first patent earlier than she turned 20 and based Theranos in 2003.
At the peak of the hype surrounding Theranos, Holmes’s wealth was estimated at $4.5bn, reflecting her 50 % stake within the agency.
But the startup collapsed in speculator vogue after a sequence of articles by The Wall Street Journal revealed that Theranos’s units have been flawed and inaccurate.
Some of Theranos’s rich traders, in addition to former board members, are anticipated to testify in the course of the trial presided over by US District Judge Edward Davila.
Leach informed jurors that proof will present that Holmes agreed with former Theranos chief working officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to hold out a scheme to defraud the agency’s traders and sufferers after it misplaced curiosity from pharmaceutical corporations.
“Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie,” stated Leach.
Balwani, who has additionally pleaded not responsible to fees in opposition to him, is scheduled to be tried individually.
If Holmes takes the witness stand in the course of the trial, her legal professionals have indicated in lately unsealed filings that she is going to testify that some of her statements and actions whereas on the helm of Theranos have been the outcome of “intimate partner abuse” inflicted on her by Balwani.
Balwani’s lawyer has denied Holmes’s allegations.