Elizabeth Holmes speaks for herself

Who is it Should be responsible for the fiasco of blood testing startup Theranos? Is it Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the female boss? 11 counts of wire transfer fraud Suspected of misleading investors? Or is it that company employees have signed various reports demonstrating that the technology is performing well? Theranos board members—such as George Schultz, James Matisse, and Henry Kissinger—are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for consulting the company? Or is it that Sherlock Holmes’s business partner and ex-boyfriend Ramesh Balwani faces 11 counts of fraud each?

In the past few days, with Holmes’ statements, each of these theories has been explored. This is an experiment that fascinates Silicon Valley and other regions for 11 weeks. This is the first time she has told her story for herself since Theranos officially closed in 2018, and she was charged with fraud in the same year.

Holmes began to testify on Friday afternoon, which set a record for the number of people who appeared outside the court on Monday and Tuesday morning. The audience began to line up as early as 2 AM this week, shivering as they waited for the limited seats in the San Jose courthouse.The crowd was full of reporters, citizens who were concerned about the matter, and a man shouting “God bless you, lady boss!” When Holmes arrived on Tuesday. “Silicon Valley has never seen such a high-profile commercial fraud case before,” said historian Margaret O’Mara, who compared this spectacle to earlier iPhone releases. When her company started in the early 2000s, Holmes benefited from the hype. Now she finds herself in another hype cycle.

As a young CEO, Holmes often portrayed himself as a child prodigy. She appeared on the cover of the magazine and welcomed people to compare her with Steve Jobs. But in court, Holmes, 37, no longer wore her once iconic black turtleneck sweater-emphasizing the part of the job she delegated to others.

When asked who was responsible for verifying that the blood test was performed as promised, Holmes pointed to Adam Rosendorf, director of Theranos laboratory. The poor cooperation with Walgreens is due to Daniel Young, a “very smart” employee appointed by Holmes. The reason for not disclosing that Theranos sometimes uses third-party equipment is attributed to the company’s legal counsel, Holmes said, the company’s legal counsel told her that the information constitutes a “commercial secret.” Balwani, not Holmes, is responsible for the company’s financial forecasts. And the famous marketing suggestion that Theranos only used “a drop of blood”? Holmes testified that she did not personally sign every marketing material created by Chiat Day, an expensive advertising company she hired.

David Sklansky, a professor at Stanford University and a criminal law writer, said that this type of spread of responsibility is extremely common in fraud cases. “This is probably the most common form of defense in cases involving large-scale financial fraud allegations,” he said. “Whether it is effective depends on how credible the jury considers it.”



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