'Lying and Cheating to Get Money': Elizabeth Holmes Trial Begins in California
The long-awaited trial of former Theranos CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes began Wednesday in San Jose, California.
Holmes is facing 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy amid accusations of deceiving investors, patients and the general public with promises of revolutionary blood testing technology that was set to disrupt the entire healthcare industry, once valued at $9 billion.
However in 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an exposé which found the technology to be defunct, and thus began one of the most publicly documented and followed scandals in the history of Silicon Valley.
Read through here for a full detailed look at Holmes and Theranos’ whirlwind rise and fall.
The 12-member jury was sworn in Wednesday morning, with opening statements beginning shortly after 1 pm EST.
Robert Leach, who opened for the prosecution on behalf of the government, started by saying that the Holmes’ trial is “about fraud, about lying and cheating to get money."
"The scheme brought her fame, it brought her honor and it brought her adoration,” he said. “She had become, as she sought, one of the most celebrated CEOs in Silicon Valley and the world. But under the facade of Theranos' success there were significant problems brewing.”
The prosecution painted a picture of Holmes intentionally lying and scheming her way through when she knew her technology was “plagued by issues” and that she had reverted to fraudulent behavior because she was “out of time and out of money.”
The prosecution claimed that in 2019, when Theranos had lost interest and potential funding from major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, the fraud began.
The defense countered this, lead by Holmes’ lawyer Lance Wade.
“Failure is not a crime. Trying your hardest and coming up short is not a crime,” Wade said in the defense’s opening statement. “And by the time this trial is over, you will see that the villain the government just presented is actually a living, breathing human being who did her very best each and every day. And she is innocent.”
Wade claims that Holmes was an eager businesswoman with a revolutionary idea in a technology that that she was “all in on” but fell victim to the reality that Theranos “could not overcome business obstacles that others saw but she naively underestimated.
It has been reported that it is “highly likely” that Holmes herself will take the stand as a witness during the trial, though nothing has been officially confirmed.
There will be no recorded audio or video inside the courtroom throughout the trial.
This story will continue to update as the trial continues.