Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of disgraced blood-testing company Theranos, took the stand in her own defense late Friday, in a surprise move by the defense team. Holmes is being tried on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, for allegedly misleading investors and patients about Theranos’ blood testing device.
Holmes took the stand just after 6PM ET on Friday, to the surprise of most in the courtroom. Verge editor Liz Lopatto, who has been covering the trial, said Holmes seemed relaxed as she answered questions about her background and the company.
holmes has been smiling a lot on the stand. she seems relaxed. a lot of you have been asking me about her voice. it doesn’t sound that low to me? but when she punches a syllable for emphasis, she drops her pitch.
— Elizabeth Lopatto (@mslopatto) November 19, 2021
Theranos was once valued at around $9 billion before investigative reporter John Carreyrou wrote an expose for The Wall Street Journal that said the company wasn’t using its own device for the blood tests it was conducting, and company employees were concerned the device wasn’t accurate. After more WSJ reports showed that the company’s tests were faulty and it voided two years of results from its Edison blood-testing device, Holmes was banned from operating labs, and Theranos dissolved in 2018.
The government rested its case on Friday morning, after several weeks, during which dozens of witnesses testified about Holmes and the work Theranos did. Her defense team is expected to argue that Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and business partner at Theranos, was abusive toward her and “that any success she achieved was because of him.” Balwani is being tried separately next year.