On Thursday, after three days of deliberations, the jury in the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing startup Theranos, was unable to reach a decision.
Ms. Holmes, 37, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to conduct wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud for allegedly misrepresenting about Theranos’s technology in order to gain financial and public recognition for the company. If found guilty, she may face a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.
Eight men and four women served on the panel that started deliberations on Monday and resumed its deliberations on Wednesday. On Tuesday afternoon, they inquired as to whether they would be permitted to take jury instructions home with them. (In this case, the answer was no.) They were given the day off on Wednesday.
Their deliberations lasted the whole day on Thursday. After a while, they requested to listen to audio recordings of a phone conversation Ms. Holmes made with investors. “Partnerships with pharmaceutical firms and our contracts with the military” were two of the strategies Ms. Holmes used to build Theranos’s company, according to her during the phone conversation. Despite this, pharmaceutical firms advised against the use of Theranos’ technology, and the military never employed the company’s equipment in combat.
In Silicon Valley, start-up founders are seldom penalised for making statements that aren’t supported by the evidence. Ms. Holmes, who made a name for herself as a female pioneer in a male-dominated business, deliberately modelled herself after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Beginning in 2003, she dropped out of Stanford University and spent the following decade gathering over $1 billion from venture capitalists and affluent family offices to fund the growth of the company.
Ms. Holmes was found to have exaggerated the capabilities of Theranos’ blood testing equipment, as well as the company’s links to pharmaceutical corporations and the military, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation published in 2015. The firm was forced to close its doors in 2018.
Everything comes down to whether Ms. Holmes intended to defraud investors, patients, and others or if she behaved in good faith when she made her statements.
Prosecutors cited 29 witnesses in an attempt to establish that Ms. Holmes “opted for fraud over commercial failure” by fabricating fraudulent validation reports, staging phoney demonstrations, creating erroneous marketing materials, and making other false statements.
Ms. Holmes testified for seven days, serving as the cornerstone of her defence. She remade herself as a naive entrepreneur who had been led wrong by others around her, and she was successful. Ramesh Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operations officer, was accused by Elizabeth Holmes of assaulting her emotionally and physically throughout their covert, ten-year relationship, according to her tearful testimony. Mr. Balwani, also known as Sunny, has disputed the charges made by the woman.