January 18, 2022

Image credit: nytimes.com

Elizabeth Holmes gives a surprising testimony at the Theranos trial

An entrepreneur accused of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars by falsifying blood tests has astonished a US court by testifying in her defence.

Elizabeth Holmes is accused of making misleading promises about her company Theranos, such as that her technology could detect diseases with just a drop of blood.

Ms Holmes, 37, is charged with multiple counts of fraud and faces years in prison if convicted. She is adamant in her denial of any wrongdoing. Her company was worth $9 billion (£6.5 billion) at its peak. She took the stand, stated that her time at Theranos had convinced her of the company’s technology.

She described how she started the company after dropping out of Stanford University, and how her team achieved a technological breakthrough. She told Jurors “We laboured for years with teams of scientists and engineers to miniaturise all of the technology in the laboratory.”

Jurors in California heard testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses throughout the course of the two-month trial. Prosecutors allege that Ms Holmes defrauded patients and investors.

Ms Holmes rose to prominence in 2013 after claiming to have developed technology that could screen for a variety of ailments with just a few drops of blood from a finger prick.

Rupert Murdoch was one of her high-profile investors, but in 2015, a whistleblower revealed the tests were flawed, and the tycoon fell from grace.

By 2018, Theranos had fallen in the midst of one of the most significant business scandals in recent US history.

Ms Holmes has entered a not guilty plea to nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Her attorneys claim that she did not mean to cheat, but rather naively overestimated the difficulties her company faced. The trial, which began in September, is set to last until the end of this month.