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Will Elizabeth Holmes Testify at Theranos Trial?

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Will Elizabeth Holmes Testify at Theranos Trial?

The stage is set for what could be the most dramatic moment of the criminal trial of the failed start-up Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.

After an 11-week delay in court proceedings, prosecutors appear set to put their case to rest soon. Only then will there be rescue.

Defense attorneys’ list of potential witnesses includes former Silicon Valley ex-Dear Holmes, who pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

“Taking a stand would be a risky move, but Holmes has shown that she can be very persuasive and charismatic,” Erin Griffith, a reporter for The New York Times, told me. “And she’s clearly a risk taker.”

Holmes dropped out of Stanford and started the blood testing start-up Theranos at the age of 19. For years he reassured big-name investors of his company’s promise. At one time, Theranos was worth $9 billion.

But she and the company fell from grace after claims of her technology were shown to be false. Her downfall has captured the public imagination and spawned a documentary, book, and podcast — and a mini-series based on that podcast.

Holmes, now 37 and a new mother, has been in the courtroom every day during the trial, but jurors have yet to hear her outside of the recordings that were played as evidence. His face is covered by a mask. And she’s sitting so quiet that one courtroom artist said she’s especially easy to sketch.

Times reporter Erin Wu told me she felt Holmes might need to take a stand on the defense’s case.

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Holmes’ lawyers are expected to argue that Sunny Balwani, the former chief operating officer of Theranos and Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, molested her. In court filings, Holmes has said that Balwani, who faces a separate trial next year, was emotionally abusive and controlling.

But jurors haven’t heard much about this argument so far. And Balvani, a former Theranos employee, is unlikely to be able to shed light on Holmes’ personal life, Wu told me.

“The two of them kept their relationship a secret during their time at Theranos,” Wu said. “It seems that Holmes himself may have to testify to his relationship if his team wants gamblers to understand what its inner workings were.”

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