On Friday, prosecutors substantiated their case against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, and Holmes’ attorney asked a judge to acquit Holmes on the basis of insufficient evidence against her.
The prosecution opened a case about 10 weeks ago, but only called a small subset of the people on their witness list to testify. Key evidence the jury saw against Holmes included what she circulated to investors and other reports praising Theranos and containing the apparently stolen logos of pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Schering-Plow. The jury also heard Holmes told investors that her technology was used on helicopters for medical evacuation, despite testimony from a former Theranos employee that he was unaware that her blood testing machines were being used clinically on soldiers in war zones. or on military aircraft.
Also on Friday, a judge dismissed one of the counts of fraud against Holmes because the patient with whom he is associated did not receive any of the blood tests that the prosecution pointed to in the case. Holmes is now facing 11 fraud charges.
After prosecutors dropped their case, Holmes’ attorney Amy Saharia asked Judge Edward Davila to drop the case against Holmes under a federal court rule allowing judges to acquit if there was insufficient evidence to convict. The evidence against Holmes, according to Saharia, was “insufficient on every element and every count.” Judge Edward Davila reserved the decision.
Holmes, who founded a Palo Alto blood testing startup at the age of 19 in 2003, is accused of allegedly extorting hundreds of millions of dollars from investors and deceiving patients into false claims that the company’s machines could perform a full range of tests using just one a few drops of blood when she knew the technology had serious accuracy problems. She and her co-accused, the former president of Sunny Balwani, denied the charges. Balvani is to be tried next year.
The defense said it would trigger a witness call in the case on Friday. Earlier court documents show that Holmes alleged that she was coerced and mistreated by Balwani, her former longtime romantic partner, and may call a psychologist to testify in support of these claims.
Holmes, charged with a dozen counts, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $ 2.75 million fine if convicted, as well as possible restitution, the Justice Department said.