The lengthy drama came to an end in January, when Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the bankrupt blood-testing start-up Theranos, was found guilty of fraud. The judgement marked the conclusion of an investigation that lasted many years.
However, in the months that followed, as Ms. Holmes awaited her punishment, the level of drama surrounding her case only continued to intensify.
The first person to be found guilty of fraud was Ms. Holmes’s co-conspirator, the ex-chief operational officer of Theranos, who was found guilty in July. Then, Ms. Holmes presented a flurry of motions for a new trial based on fresh evidence, alleging a lack of evidence as the reason for her desire to have her conviction overturned by the court, and she cited a lack of evidence as the reason for her conviction. She has been clearly pregnant with her second kid during the recent hearings that have taken place about this matter. And during the month of August, a crucial witness did something that is quite uncommon in the context of a criminal investigation: he went to her residence.
That occurrence served as the foundation for the most recent effort that Ms. Holmes made to turn her circumstances around. On Monday, the 38-year-old woman, her parents and partner, her lawyers, and a scrum of media gathered in a federal courtroom in San Jose, California, for a hearing that could open the door for her to get a new trial. The hearing was scheduled to determine whether or not the woman is eligible for a new trial. Ms. Holmes’s attorneys contended that the visit by the main witness raised doubts about the reliability of the witness as well as the legitimacy of the trial itself.
But almost nothing about Ms. Holmes’ situation, which came to embody the dangers of Silicon Valley’s hype-driven start-up culture, has been typical. The case came to be known as the “Silicon Valley effect.” Ms. Holmes and her boyfriend, Billy Evans, both refused to comment on the case or confirm or deny rumours that they are expecting.
The visit on August 8 of Dr. Adam Rosendorff, who was instrumental in the creation of Theranos as its lab director, is at the centre of this controversy. In subsequent years, he became a whistle-blower and contributed to the exposure of the company’s fraudulent activities. Patients and investors were misled by Theranos into believing that the company’s ground-breaking technology could correctly conduct thousands of blood tests with only a single drop of blood when in reality, it could not.
During the trial of Ms. Holmes that took place a year ago, in which she was accused of almost a dozen charges of deceiving patients and investors, Dr. Rosendorff was had to sit through the most testimony of any witness, which lasted for a total of six days. After the fact, members of the jury said that they believed his evidence to be among the most believable presented over the course of the trial.
Then, in the month of August, Dr. Rosendorff travelled to Palo Alto, California, where he went to the previous location of Theranos’ office as well as the first Walgreens store that the business had collaborated with. Both were missing, as he discovered.
According to the petition that his legal team submitted, as a consequence of this, he “suddenly believed that a talk with the defendant was the missing element” to going on with his life. Dr. Rosendorff travelled to the house of Ms. Holmes in the adjacent city of Woodside, California. When he responded, Mr. Evans admonished him to go.
After that point, the two stories diverge. Ms. Holmes’s camp stated that Dr. Rosendorff had admitted guilt over his role in the situation, and that he had said that government prosecutors “made things sound worse than they were.” Ms. Holmes argued that the incident called Dr. Rosendorff’s testimony into question, as well as the government’s entire case, and that she deserved a new trial as a result of the incident.
On Monday, Dr. Rosendorff was present in the courtroom once again. Judge Edward Davila, who presided over the trial of Ms. Holmes, inquired as to the veracity of Dr. Rosendorff’s evidence throughout the proceedings and inquired further as to whether or not the government had accurately portrayed the facts. He provided evidence that was positive.
After afterwards, Ms. Holmes’s attorney, Lance Wade, questioned him at length. What was Dr. Rosendorff hoping to accomplish by paying Ms. Holmes a visit? Had Dr. Rosendorff had a mental episode that caused him to change his testimony in any way? Was the administration attempting to bring down the reputation of everyone? Was it the intention of Dr. Rosendorff to assist Ms. Holmes?
In response, Dr. Rosendorff said that he believed the attorneys for Ms. Holmes were attempting to portray him as a liar. He said that he had pity for Theranos workers who had been negatively impacted by the controversy; but, he did not feel sorrow for Ms. Holmes and her co-conspirator, Ramesh Balwani. He continued by saying that he was sorry to think that Ms. Holmes’s children would have to go through life without a mother if she were to go to jail.
During the whole of Dr. Rosendorff’s testimony, Ms. Holmes maintained eye contact with him and took notes intermittently. She gave the reporters a grin as she walked out the door hand in hand with Mr. Evans, but she did not answer any of their questions.
Judge Davila said that he had been provided with the responses to his inquiries pertaining to the event. In the following weeks, he will determine whether or not Ms. Holmes should be granted a new trial.
On November 15, Mr. Balwani, who was found guilty of 12 separate charges of fraud related to Theranos, is scheduled to receive his punishment. He attempted to use the visit that Dr. Rosendorff paid to Ms. Holmes as a justification for his own retrial, but it was unsuccessful. The motion did not get approved.