Jury selection begins in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes attends the TIME 100 Is..........
It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve heard about Elizabeth Holmes and it has. The last time we reported on the former Theranos founder was in July of 2019. She was set to go on trial in the summer of 2020 but the pandemic happened. Holmes, 37, had a baby boy in June and is likely married to a hotel heir named Billy Evans, 29. When Holmes was running Theranos and scamming investors out of hundreds of millions she was in a relationship with Theranos president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Court documents suggest that Holmes will accuse Balwani of physical and emotional abuse in the upcoming case against her. She is facing up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts. Here’s more on the jury selection:

Jury selection began Tuesday in a San Jose federal courtroom for the long-awaited trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of Theranos.

The day kicked off what is likely to be a months-long affair under intense media scrutiny. Central to questioning of potential jurors was the concern that the frenzy around Holmes — including multiple documentaries and podcasts on her rise and fall — might bias those who will ultimately determine her fate.

Holmes arrived at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building shortly before 8:30am PT wearing a blue medical mask and dark blazer. She was immediately surrounded by news media, some of whom had arrived several hours earlier to secure a seat in the courtroom.

Over the course of the day, Holmes’ attorneys, federal prosecutors and Judge Edward Davila questioned potential jurors. Of the 39 juror candidates on Tuesday, 14 were excused for various reasons, including the financial strain of sitting on a jury for so long. On Wednesday, 46 new potential jurors are expected to come for questioning.

Holmes, 37, was indicted more than three years ago on multiple federal fraud and conspiracy charges over allegations she knowingly misrepresented the capabilities of her company’s proprietary blood testing technology. She has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison.

[From CNN]

They’re trying to see if potential jurors are familiar with this case and at least half of the jury pool was, according to CNN. Plus they’re requiring jurors to be vaccinated. This woman not only scammed investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars, she also put people’s lives at risk. The Theranos technology, which was based on more accurate competitor’s products, was at Walgreens and resulted in countless false results, delayed treatments and even unnecessary surgeries. Holmes wasn’t just some fake silicon valley Svengali swindling investors, she was hurting medically vulnerable people. The fact that she’s only facing 20 years in federal prison for this is outrageous. While it’s entirely possible that Balwani was controlling and abusive towards her, that doesn’t erase her agency in cooking up and perpetrating this fraud for 15 years. (Theranos existed from 2003 to 2018!) Also, I wouldn’t put it past her to have a baby for sympathy and a lighter sentence. I hope this jury throws the book at her, because the maximum sentence is not enough.

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58 Responses to “Jury selection begins in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes”

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  1. girl_ninja says:

    I read Bad Blood TWICE and may read it again. This woman is a straight up lying opportunist and needs to go down for what she has done. Periodt.

    • L84Tea says:

      I read it too and watched the documentary. She is deserves way more than 20 years. What a self-obsessed lunatic she is.

      • girl_ninja says:

        I think so too. She was such a tyrant and her trying to blame Sunny for it all now is just laughable and predictable.

    • Lexilla says:

      Bad Blood is excellent.

    • Anners says:

      It’s absolutely chilling how selfish and careless she was…and how the structures in place supported her because thin blonde white woman. I’d love to see her get the maximum, but let’s be real…thin, blonde, white woman.

      • Mel says:

        You forgot rich. She comes from a privileged house, had the right connections, add to that being a tall , thin, blonde white woman. Her looks were the only reason she was able to bamboozle all those old white men who initially gave her money.

    • schmootc says:

      I read it during the early part of the pandemic. I just hope she’s not able to sucker the jury into buying her bullshit. Clearly she’s an excellent conwoman. And she deserves whatever she gets – just the mental stress from waiting for results or physical pain from having unnecessary surgery should get her several years. And bilking all that money out of all those people should make for a fair amount more on top of it. Maybe my sympathy is just all dried up from the pandemic, but I’ve got none for her.

    • wow says:

      Does her abuse excuse hold any serious water??

  2. milliemollie says:

    I think she definitely got pregnant to reduce her sentence.
    I wouldn’t want to have a baby if I was most likely going to miss the first two decades of my child’s life.

    • TeamMeg says:

      I noticed her rubbing her belly as she arrived at court yesterday and was thinking the same thing. Considering how her mind seems to work, the choice to have a baby while potentially facing years in prison seems totally calculated.

    • AnnaC says:

      She strikes me as someone who is going to use everything/anything to delay the trial and try to gain sympathy from the jury. Waiting for the big dramatic fainting/illness/something courtroom scene next.

    • theotherViv says:

      Sadly textbook-sociopath. Let’s hope the baby has a loving father.

    • Me says:

      Don’t forget all those child support payments are not covered by the prenup!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      She pulled a Nicole Ritchie!

  3. KBeth says:

    She has crazy eyes.

    • Erin says:

      I was just thinking when I saw the thumbnail that her eyes always make me uneasy. There is something about them that you can’t describe.

    • Merricat says:

      Because there’s nothing behind them. They’re just empty, staring blue dots.

    • Justjj says:

      I’ve always thought this too. Something is very chilling about that wide, blank, stare. I think she is a sociopath too and a master manipulator after listening to the podcast, The Dropout, I haven’t read the book yet.

    • The normal pupillary response to bright light is constriction. In multiple photos there is bright light/flash her pupils are very dilated. There are prescription medications that can cause dilated pupils or slowed pupillary response. There are also non prescription substances such as cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA and others. Considering her very erratic behavior and appearance I don’t think its a stretch to speculate she was leaning toward the non prescription.

    • Emma33 says:

      The eyes of a sociopath. I’ve known 3 people who I think were sociopaths, and they all had that same look in their eyes. When they focus on you, you feel like you’re the only person in the world. It’s a kind of empty intensity. It’s a warning sign for me now.

      I read bad blood too and have no trouble believing she had a child to help sway opinion towards her.

    • The Recluse says:

      Her and Zuckerberg have similar creepy eyes. They have all the charm of cobras.

    • wow says:

      Always had crazy hair

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Twenty years. Which equates to her serving what? It’s preposterous. Insulting. She’s a monster.

  5. Renee says:

    This woman is guilty as sin. She is a schemer, liar, opportunist and con artist who swindled lots of companies and innocent people.

  6. Stef says:

    I hope she fries and gets at least 20 years. Straight up lying, cheating, grifter.

  7. Layla Beans says:

    The podcast “The Dropout” is so good – I learned so much about her and Theranos. She is a straight-up sociopath and just super, super weird. The fake voice and the turtlenecks just added an extra dose of “this woman is nuts” to the story.

    • L84Tea says:

      I found her obsession with being an icon fascinating. It’s glaringly obvious she was obsessed with Steve Jobs and was trying to make herself the female version of him, black turtlenecks and all. But that’s all she wanted, to be an icon. A really really weird icon.

    • Anners says:

      ooh – thanks for this. I’ll check out the Dropout.

    • Robyn says:

      I listened to that twice! I hope the prosecution calls the female professor who had NO TIME for her shit to demonstrate that this was all in the works pre-Sunny.

  8. Marie says:

    Does she still talk in her fake deep voice?

  9. brubs says:

    I understand the gravity of her crimes but 20 years is a long time, even if she serves way less than that

    • pottymouth pup says:

      this is a big problem – white collar crimes, usually perpetrated by affluent white people, usually result in a lighter sentence “because it wasn’t a violent crime” even though the crimes committed by Holmes and white collar criminals like her do significant damage to an exponentially higher number of people (and often lead to the financial ruin and/or significant health consequences for those victims). If someone who robs a person of $100 can get a 20 year sentence, it’s ridiculous to say someone who robbed multiple people of more than that and endangered the victim’s health shouldn’t have to serve 20 years because they didn’t necessarily physically force/coerce their victims in person

      • Robyn says:

        Right – I would say knowingly misrepresentating a diagnostic tool and distributing inaccurate results is pretty damn violent.

      • Justjj says:

        You should listen to The Dropout. The problems with the centrifuges were very gory-as in blood everywhere, cross contamination, the machines were a literal bloody mess. It was very ‘violent’ to mislead cancer patients into thinking this tool could help them find a cure and go back to their lives, only for that to be a complete a lie…

  10. Willow says:

    This woman is dangerous. She is a con artist who reinvents herself to take advantage of people and the way she can manipulate, especially men, is unreal. She needs to be in jail and denied access to social media to protect society. Her defense ‘strategy’ is her next con. There will be more. I hope there is someone stable in her baby’s life.

  11. Mireille says:

    BOTH Elizabeth Holmes AND Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani need to be held accountable.

    I could care less about the investors — she and Balwani need to pay for the damages they caused to patients. Investors should have done their due diligence to NOT be duped. Patients put their trust in medicine and science to safeguard their health. Those Theranos motherf*ckers callously took advantage of that to run their con game for profit and fame. I have no sympathy for them.

    I heard about this story late — didn’t pay much attention to Theranos. I worked on programs that catered to healthcare investors and when I found out about Holmes’ “invention” that was supposed to revolutionize blood testing, I was stunned that nobody delved into the validity of her product. Theranos had government officials, statesmen/women, and financial geeks on their board — hardly anyone with a science or medical background.

    200 blood tests with a single drop of blood? There’s just not enough volume there to run those tests. Is it me or why didn’t any of these investors questioned that? Insisted on seeing this “invention” at work? If it was my money to invest, I’d be demanding all sorts of proof. The only thing a drop of blood will get you is a glucose reading on a glucometer. If she really created a machine that could run 200 blood tests on a single drop of blood, that’s akin to breaking the sound barrier or capturing the speed of light in a bottle (sorry, can’t think of more appropriate comparisons right now). That would be some groundbreaking, revolutionary technology that could have awarded her all sorts of accolades, like the Nobel Prize, regardless of financial backing.

    And no one thought to question her? Considering her background and lack of experience (and I don’t include her education) how was she considered capable of this type of achievement? Sorry, I don’t mean to say that it can’t be done, but why did people believe that it could have been achieved by someone like her? Because she “looked the part?” That of an overprivileged white woman with fake deep voice and moneyed background? She’s a treacherous Karen who got a pass for being a Karen. And Balwani is a moronic, immoral, unethical grifter who played along.

  12. KAS says:

    This woman confuses me. On one hand she seems like every weird awkward smart girl who everyone side-eyed in school while at the same time seeming like the epitome of every mean popular girl people didn’t like but allowed to do whatever they wanted. Everything about her makes zero sense and makes me unsettled. I need to listen to that podcast about her.

  13. Queen Meghan's Hand says:

    I watched The Inventor documentary and…I think it is unfair to the victims of this scheme for ONLY Holmes and Balwani to go down for this. Forbes, Inc., former Secretaries and other companies and powerful people actively played a role in legitimizing this ridiculous premise. Theranos got Defense contracts for goshshakes. Who approved that? Who allowed that to happen? If only Holmes and Balwani are punished, another Theranos will pop up and harm consumers just the same.

  14. Lululu says:

    This story absolutely fascinates me. I think this woman will truly say or do anything to get her way. I don’t have as good a read on Balwani, some accounts suggest he was duped and manipulated by her, so I’m very interested to see how this new set of allegations turns out.

  15. Faye G says:

    She’s a soulless scammer who cares nothing for the people she hurt. I hope she goes down fast.

    On a petty note, I can’t get over how bad her make up is in the header pic. Those eyebrows! How anyone found her attractive is beyond me.

    • Justjj says:

      According to a witness, and the Dropout podcast, she literally told someone “I’m too pretty to go to jail.” So… we’ll see… but yeah, sorry to keep plugging that podcast but it’s great and I really like Wondery pods

  16. SusanRagain says:

    Ugh! Jail time and hurry it up.
    What a con artist.

  17. LillyfromLillooet says:

    I laughed out loud when I read somewhere that Holmes’ defense is going to be a perversion of #MeToo laying all the blame on Sunny as an abusive and manipulative partner, and she was under his thumb. I hope and pray that a jury and judge see through that. I dislike that it is going to be a burden for the prosecution to deal with that kind of narrative–I’m sure her team will use it as much as possible.

    Having read Bad Blood, the person I ache for the most was the worker she literally bullied to death—a scientist in his 60s whom she put under so much pressure he eventually took his own life.

    As for her child and the young man she’s duped into having a child with her (sociopaths can do a great job of seeming like good and ethical people who are loving partners when they need to) I only hope he comes to his senses. And trust, no sentencing judge should believe the argument that her sentence should be reduced because she had a child. It would be a blessing for her not to be on the scene for anyone’s childhood.

    • Mireille says:

      “was the worker she literally bullied to death—a scientist in his 60s whom she put under so much pressure he eventually took his own life.”

      —That was just unbelievably cruel and tragic. Another reason why I have no sympathy for her or Balwani. They bullied, threatened, and strong-armed employees who questioned them and whistleblowers.

  18. Lola says:

    I have to make a shallow comment, but her makeup is so bad and incredibly dated, and I can’t put my finger on exactly why.

    • Justjj says:

      It’s the thin, arched rainbow brow, the super matte and slightly too warm foundation, total lack of contouring, bright white conealer in half moons under the eyes, L shaped swooshed blush, and unlined, black matte lined water line with no eyeshadow blending/flat 2-tone eyeshadow, too pink and too glossy lip. Modern makeup has: a glowing or dewy finish. Thicker and more accented brows with a natural arch, blush only on the apples and blended into a nice contour, a more defined lip with only a hint of gloss if any, and very defined smokier eye makeup OR defined lip with lots of blending along the water line and lid or a lip that stands out with simple eyeliner and understated shadows

      • LillyfromLillooet says:

        @Justjj: OMG you just made my life so much better

      • Mireille says:

        OMG! Now that you point it out so succinctly, I’m rethinking how I apply my make-up every morning before I get on a video conference call. Thanks for the tips. I’m beginning to think I spent my last vc calls looking like a clown now.

    • Meg says:

      She used to say her wearing the same black clothes everyday was because she wanted all of her mental energy to go to her company. She only had green juice in her refrigerator too for the same reason supposedly. Ugh eye roll

  19. Liz version 700 says:

    She is an absolute sociopath

  20. BeanieBean says:

    I can’t see a photo of Elizabeth Holmes without thinking of CB in her Halloween costume. It was spot on!

  21. Dillunn says:

    John Carreyrou (author of Bad Blood) has a new podcast called ‘Bad Blood: the Last Chapter,’ which will follow the trial and give additional info uncovered since the book was published. One of his first episodes talked about how Holmes and Theranos attempted to exploit the Ebola epidemic and Zika.