After months of criminal proceedings in Silicon Valley, the fate of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is now in the hands of twelve jurors.
A group of eight men and four women will consider whether Holmes, 37, should be convicted or exonerated in nine cases of fraud and two cases of conspiracy to commit fraud. The deliberations are due to begin on Monday.
Holmes faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and he has pleaded not guilty.
Throughout the process and in Thursday’s closing statements, prosecutors attempted to prove that Holmes had knowingly lied to investors and patients, arguing that they had purposely oversold the capabilities of the company’s devices to gain fortune and fame.
vocation more than 30 witnesses including investors, patients and former employees, attorneys at the prosecution painted a picture a founder determined to make her technology a success, despite growing evidence that her claims were largely unfounded.
Prosecutor Jeff Schenk presented the jury with a summary of the arguments Holmes knowingly lied about the capabilities of Theranos tests, saying the evidence shows that “she made the decision to defraud her investors and then her patients”.
“She preferred fraud to failure. She made a choice to be dishonest with investors and patients, ”he said. “This decision was not only numb, it was criminal.”
Holmes founded the company at the center of the case in 2004 after leaving Stanford to revolutionize healthcare with a machine that could do a variety of tests with just a drop of blood.
As a founder in the male-dominated tech industry, Holmes quickly rose to fame, attracting funds from well-known investors such as former US Secretary of State George Schultz and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The company had amassed more than $ 9 billion when reports from the Wall Street Journal exposed major concerns about its revolutionary claims.
During the trial, several lab leaders testified that they were warned Holmes of the shortcomings of Theranos technology and told to downplay those concerns. Meanwhile, Holmes announced to investors that the technology was working as planned.
In one particularly damning piece of evidence, Holmes tampered with paperwork with pharmaceutical logos, suggesting that the companies had endorsed their technology. Holmes admitted this and said, “I wish I had done it differently.”
Holmes, meanwhile, protests her innocence, claiming that she relied on the words of scientists and other staff to believe the technology is working as advertised. She also claimed that her co-president and former lover, Sunny Balwani emotionally and physically abused themwhat leads them to cheat. Balwani denies these allegations and faces his own fraud trial in 2022.
In closing arguments on Friday, her attorney Kevin Downey compared the last few days of Holmes in Theranos to the experience of a captain bravely trying to save a sinking ship.
If Holmes had committed any crimes, she would have gone overboard like a frightened rat, Downey told the jury as he completed about five hours of closing arguments.
“Did she go?” he asked the jury. “No, she stayed. Why? Because she believed in this technology. She believed she was developing a technology that would change the world. “
In late November, Holmes stunned those who followed the trial when she unexpectedly spoke out in her own defense. The move was a gamble on their part that subjected Holmes to cross-examination by prosecutors who tried to compare their public statements with the internal documents they had contracted.
For more than four days, prosecutors eyed Holmes when she first gave evidence, suggesting that Balwani was not offensive but warm and loving, and that she was making decisions about the deal of her own volition.
The jury could make a decision at any time, it is speculated that they will do so next week.