Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes walks after a hearing in a federal court in San Jose, California on July 17, 2019. [Image courtesy of Reuters/Stephen Lam]A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors in the fraud case against Elizabeth Holmes can describe some of the lofty lifestyles of the former Theranos CEO.
Judge Edward Davila, in an order filed May 22, found that some lifestyle evidence was admissible as it allowed prosecutors to speak of Holmes’ motive, knowledge and intent. Davila, however, forbade prosecutors from finding out details that could potentially affect the jury against them.
“The government could provide evidence that Holmes, as CEO of Theranos, had a lifestyle comparable to that of other tech company CEOs. This includes salary, travel, celebrity, and other perks and benefits appropriate to the position. However, references to specific purchases or details that reflect the branding of clothing, hotels, or other personal effects are not relevant and the adverse effect of that evidence outweighs the probative value, ”Davila said.
The 100-page order answered approximately 20 requests with evidence that was admissible in the process. For example, the contract also found that patients and doctors could provide anecdotal stories of inaccurate test results. However, they need to limit their stories to the inaccurate results and money wasted on the test without talking about emotional, financial, or physical harm.
The selection of the trial jury – delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Holmes’ subsequent pregnancy – is scheduled to begin on August 31.
Holmes and Theranos were once the next big thing in Silicon Valley. Holmes claimed that her company would revolutionize blood testing with technology that could analyze tiny amounts of blood.
However, investigative coverage soon cleared up the claims Holmes made about Theranos’ technology, raising questions about whether she and other investors had misled. The downward spiral culminated in the company’s closure in 2018, when the SEC criminally accused Holmes and former Theranos President Sunny Balwani of “massive fraud”.
Balwani’s process is expected to follow the Holmes process.