Elizabeth Holmes’s blue Valentine | Observer legal podcast

1) Elizabeth Holmes tells jurors that the problems with Theranos came not from the drug companies she was courting, but from the FDA, which had recently made adverse drug-safety findings. Holmes insists that her…

Elizabeth Holmes's blue Valentine | Observer legal podcast

1) Elizabeth Holmes tells jurors that the problems with Theranos came not from the drug companies she was courting, but from the FDA, which had recently made adverse drug-safety findings. Holmes insists that her “BPA sneaks” were standard for the chemists she was recruiting. “We would bust your balls if you said this wasn’t the case,” she tells jurors. Holmes, who says she never set out to rip off investors, claims that she was forced to self-fund her company, which was “down to the skeleton in the closet”.

2) Holmes says her company suffered from a “Pandora’s box of bad press”, which led to mass exits. She also blames her poor judgment on emotional stress from her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis, the death of her sister, and the death of her brother of drug overdose.

3) Holmes takes the stand in her own defense after the defence spent a week trying to pin her down on what facts they thought she would ignore. For the rest of the trial the defence has tried to sow doubt in Holmes’s reliability by showing footage of past pronouncements and interactions with the public – which turned out to be disastrous.

4) But Holmes also gave some evidence that could be uncomfortable for investors. Specifically she admitted in June 2016 that Theranos’s blood tests, given by prefilled syringes, did not cost enough to cover the drop in revenue that would be caused by a federal rebate system, which came into effect that October. She also told jurors that her mistake about the clawback rule came because “I was very busy”. In response to questions by her lawyer, Holmes showed herself to be a complete novice at economics and financial planning, which usually constitutes a fact-finding exercise for investors.

5) There were other cringe-worthy moments too. For example, after a detective showed Holmes the company’s annual reports, Holmes showed up after the first payment deadline and said: “No, I’m done.” When an officer said: “I’m sorry, did you make a mistake?” she replied: “No, I’m done.” The implication was clear: “Just leave me alone.” Holmes also confessed to lying to investors about a problem with one of Theranos’s units at its Cupertino, California, lab. Holmes said it was no big deal and that in hindsight she should have used the full unit.

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