Starting with photographs displaying the insides of her blood-testing analyzer, the
The goal is to
“We thought this was a really big idea because these robots used in the traditional lab had not been miniaturized,” Holmes testified Monday. She explained how Theranos had overcome the failures in a presentation for
Holmes is off to a good start, said Andrey Spektor, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in New York.
“The defense has three general goals in mind for Ms. Holmes’ testimony: Humanize her, question evidence of knowledge and intent, and shake the jury’s confidence in some of the government’s witnesses,” he said in an email. “They have already achieved some success with all three.”
But by the time prosecutors start questioning Holmes, they may seek to characterize the picture of her as an innovative and hard-charging entrepreneur as less than candid.
In her discussion of two
She told jurors that Theranos made contact with the Department of Defense in 2008 and 2009 for various projects, including one to determine “whether there were markers in the blood that could predict PTSD,” an acronym for post-traumatic stress disorder.
While Holmes acknowledged her goal to arrive at a Defense Department contract was unsuccessful, she didn’t address
Likewise, Holmes offered a blow-by-blow account of her work with various drug giants, including some documentation of Theranos’ communication with companies including
The lawyer also showed the jury emails between Holmes and at least one
But her testimony didn’t touch the government’s claim that years earlier, when Pfizer and
Holmes’s anecdote about learning from the failed Novartis demonstration made no mention of the version of events laid out in journalist John Carreyrou’s book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.” Carreyrou wrote that the chief financial officer of Theranos was fired after he confronted Holmes in late 2006 upon learning that the demonstration in front of the Swiss drug company had involved a pre-recorded test result that wasn’t disclosed to Novartis.
Near the end of her testimony Monday, Holmes was asked by Downey if Theranos scientists told her the company’s machines could run a full range of blood tests. It was an attempt to diffuse a key government allegation that Holmes promoted Theranos as being able to run hundreds, even thousands, of blood tests on a tiny amount of blood even though she knew it could only accurately perform 12.
Holmes said a 2010 email from one of the company’s early lead scientists, Ian Gibbons, conveyed “our ability to expand the existing capabilities” and tests running on the company’s platform.
It’s an example of how Holmes can point to other employees to say their opinions informed hers -- and convince the jury she sincerely believed her company was going places until it eventually collapsed in 2018. But it also flies in the face of government evidence that she intentionally and repeatedly
“There is no doubt Theranos claimed things that were not true, but how much did Ms. Holmes know?” Spektor said. “Her testimony is the best evidence of that critical element, and if the jurors think she is lying to them, they will convict her.“
(Updates with Novartis test anecdote in 15th paragraph)
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