Former Theranos CEO Holmes Takes Stand Again, Works to Engage Jury in Criminal Fraud Trial

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes followed her surprise Friday testimony by talking in business-specific terms while focusing on the jury Monday during the criminal fraud trial that could put her in jail for decades if found guilty.

Holmes, 37, a former billionaire, spent a majority of her time talking about clinical studies and others records praising the efficiency of a small blood-testing device made by Theranos, according to The Associated Press. The defunct company was a startup Holmes founded in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University at age 19.

In her testimony, she looked directly at the jury while explaining technical terms about blood testing, the AP reported. She has also tried to make eye contact with the 14 jurors when they walked out amid a morning break and later when the day's proceedings had ended.

Prosecutors claimed she fraudulently told investors and patients she had created new blood-testing technology. Holmes could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The studies Holmes referred to were done from 2008 to 2010 with some major pharmaceutical companies. It found that the Edison, the third generation of a Theranos device, delivered positive results. This left Holmes to believe the company was close to success.

One report said, "Results have been excellent," while another stated, "Results have been precise."

However, in 2015, Theranos' lab director said the technology had malfunctioned, possibly putting patients in harm's way. This caused the company to run tests on traditional blood-testing machines while still gathering money from investors.

In her testimony Monday, Holmes defined success as something that "has successfully achieved the objective of a program" when talking to Kevin Downey, her attorney.

Holmes' testimony appeared to be an attempt to show why she approved of the technology, thus promising that it would be able to check for hundreds of potential diseases and health problems through a single finger prick.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, Criminal Fraud, Edison
Elizabeth Holmes, center, walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Holmes is accused of duping elite financial backers, customers and patients into believing that her startup was about to revolutionize medicine. Nic Coury/AP Photo

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila didn't explain why he met with lawyers from both sides of the case behind closed doors while a masked — and befuddled — audience sat in a packed courtroom Monday.

Holmes' latest round of testimony came after her lawyers called her to the stand during the final hour of Friday's proceedings in what has been the most dramatic moment of a high-profile trial that began in early September.

Anticipation of Holmes' return to the stand Monday drew a large crowd outside of the San Jose, California, courthouse where the trial is occurring, with the first person lining up around 1 a.m. PT. The roughly 35 people who got into the small courtroom Monday included one of Holmes' biggest foils — former Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, who wrote a series of explosive articles starting in October 2015 that triggered Theranos' collapse and the ensuing criminal case.

Other evidence presented at the trial showed Holmes distributed misleading information in 2013 about a purported partnership with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies that helped Theranos raise money.

Having spent only about three hours on the stand so far, Holmes' testimony is expected to eventually delve into more intriguing territory.

Before the trial started, Holmes' lawyers filed documents indicating she intends to blame whatever misconduct that occurred at Theranos on her former lover and the company's former chief operating officer, Sunny Balwani. Those documents assert that Balwani, who faces a separate criminal trial next year, manipulated Holmes through "intimate partner abuse." Balwani's lawyer has blasted those allegations as baseless.

Holmes' testimony will resume Tuesday morning and is expected to continue into next week.

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, Criminal Fraud, Edison
In her testimony Monday, Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes spoke of clinical studies and other records praising the efficiency of small blood-testing device made by the company. In this photo, Holmes along with her partner Billy Evans, depart the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building on November 22, 2021 in San Jose, California. Ethan Swope/Getty Images