The jury in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, begins deliberation

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial in federal court in San Jose, California, December 17, 2021.

Peter DaSilva | Reuters

SAN JOSE, California – 12 juries will decide the fate of founder Theranos Elizabeth Holmes left to consider the testimonies of 31 witnesses during the three months when they began deliberation.

The case was handed over to the jury at around 4:40 p.m. PT, after Judge Edward Davila finished reading the instructions. Holmes, who started his blood-testing company in 2003 and dropped out of Stanford to build it, is charged with nine counts of telephone fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit cell phone fraud. She faces 20 years in prison if convicted. She pleads not guilty.

Kevin Downey, Holmes’ defense attorney, issued his final plea on Friday, arguing that his client should be acquitted of all charges.

“First signs of trouble, crooks withdrawing money, criminals cover up and rats fleeing from a sinking ship,” Downey said. “She didn’t do that.”

Downey said Holmes, now 37, dedicated his life to building Theranos and never intended to scam investors. He reminded jurors that Holmes had given up on college, give up her youth and lost their friendship because “she believes she’s built a technology that can change the world.”

He insisted that Holmes’ wealth was surrounded by the success of Theranos and that she had never sold any of her shares.

“She was with that ship when it crashed,” Downey said. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s this woman.”

Downey spent more than three hours breaking up the government case. He said Holmes did not intentionally misrepresent the company’s finances to solicit money from investors.

Rupert Murdoch leaves the News Corporation building with his son Lachlan Murdoch (R) on July 21, 2016 in New York City.

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Over the course of a decade, Theranos has raised $945 million from prominent investors, including News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, Don Lucas and his family Betsy DeVos, former secretary of education. Some of those investors testified as government witnesses.

“People lose money,” Downey said. “I don’t hold back from talking about it.” “Miss Holmes certainly did not intend to let people lose money. It was a terrible turn of events and a failure on her part.”

Investors are connoisseurs who “know this is a new venture, they know it’s speculation and they know it’s risky,” Downey said.

Holmes sat among attorneys inside a San Jose courtroom on Friday. She is supported by her parents and her partner, Billy Evans.

‘Another choice’

After the defense finished her argument, the prosecution dismissed it and returned attention to Holmes and the degree of control she exercised over every aspect of her company.

Assistant US Attorney John Bostic said: “The illness that plagued Theranos was not a lack of effort, but a lack of honesty. “It’s not on the ground floor, it’s at the top.”

Theranos should not be confused with a company that has failed despite hard work, Bostic said.

“We admire people who set ambitious goals and are determined to achieve them,” says Bostic. “This case took a turn for the worse for Theranos and Miss Holmes as she made another choice, as she refused to accept defeat and instead turned to breaking the law.”

For Holmes to be found guilty, the jury must unanimously decide beyond reasonable doubt that the businessman, once hailed as a Youngest self-made female billionaire, in order to defraud investors and patients.

Danny Cevallos, a legal analyst with NBC News, said the jury had a mountain of evidence to consider, based on the number of witnesses who took the stand and the pile of documents presented.

“With so much evidence and so much communication, the jury has a lot of evidence to look at if they want to,” Cevallos said. “On the other hand, they can go back into the jury room, and when the door closes, they can look at each other and say, ‘None of us believed a word she said.'”

A glaring omission in the defense’s final argument was any mention of Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Holmes’ business partner and ex-boyfriend. Balwani is central to Holmes’ testimony. She emotionally told the jury that Balwani had abused her physically and emotionally. She says he controls her and is responsible for overseeing the Theranos lab and finances.

Balwani faces the same charges as Holmes and will be on trial early next year. He also pleaded not guilty.

Downey did not say Balwani’s name on Friday.

“It could hurt her,” Cevallos said. “I think the juries will be in the jury room and ask each other, ‘Why don’t they mention all this Balwani’s trauma at the end if it’s so important to them?'”

Bostic chose to return to the subject of his rebuttal. He told the jury that while abusive testimony was hard to hear, it shouldn’t sway their decision.

“In the absence of any evidence linking that experience to the alleged behavior, you should get it out of your mind,” Bostic said. “Mrs Holmes does not need Mr. Balwani’s encouragement to deceive.”

CLOCK: Concluding arguments in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes The jury in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, begins deliberation

Emma James

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