SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the previous 11 weeks, prosecutors revealed emails from determined buyers. They held up falsified paperwork aspect by aspect with the originals. They referred to as dozens of witnesses who lobbed accusations of deceit and evasiveness.

And on Friday, the individual whom prosecutors have been making their case towards — Elizabeth Holmes, the founding father of the failed blood testing start-up Theranos — took the stand to defend herself. She faces 11 counts of defrauding buyers over Theranos’s expertise and enterprise in a case that has been billed as a referendum on Silicon Valley’s start-up tradition. She has pleaded not responsible.

Ms. Holmes — whose rise and fall captivated the general public and who has been held up as an emblem of the tech trade’s hubris and the final decade’s tradition of grift — started her testimony by answering a sequence of questions on Theranos. She delved into her background and the way she started the Silicon Valley start-up, which had promised to revolutionize well being care by utilizing only a drop of blood from sufferers to infer their sicknesses.

When Kevin Downey, Ms. Holmes’s lawyer, requested her whether or not she had based “technology that was capable of running any blood tests,” she answered within the affirmative.

Ms. Holmes spent solely an hour on the stand on Friday, after the prosecution rested its case. She is scheduled to renew her testimony on Monday.

Prosecutors had sought to color Ms. Holmes as a liar who constructed Theranos right into a $9 billion start-up whereas realizing all alongside that its blood exams didn’t work. They methodically outlined six principal areas of her deception, together with lies about Theranos’s work with the navy and pharmaceutical firms, its enterprise efficiency and the accuracy of its blood exams.

The stakes of the trial are excessive. If Ms. Holmes, 37, is convicted, she faces as much as 20 years in jail for every rely of fraud, and prosecutors could also be emboldened to go after extra start-ups that stretch the reality to lift funding. An acquittal might ship a message that Silicon Valley start-ups, which have exploded in energy and wealth over the past decade, are tough to carry to account.

“When prosecutors rest their case, they are basically saying they have enough to ask the jury to convict the defendant right then and there,” stated Andrey Spektor, a lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and a former federal prosecutor in New York’s Eastern District.

Ms. Holmes, a Stanford University dropout who based Theranos in 2003 and raised $945 million from buyers, was indicted on fraud costs in 2018. Her case has been plagued for years by delays: first over course of, then the pandemic and eventually, Ms. Holmes’s giving beginning to a child in August.

When the trial lastly started in September, prosecutors referred to as former buyers, companions and Theranos staff to testify. Jim Mattis, the retired four-star Marine Corps common and former protection secretary, who was a Theranos director, took the stand, as did a former Theranos lab director who endured six grueling days of questioning. In one surreal second, a forensics skilled recited textual content messages between Ms. Holmes and Ramesh Balwani, her boyfriend on the time and enterprise companion at Theranos, who is named Sunny.

This week, Alan Eisenman, an early investor in Theranos, testified that Ms. Holmes lower him off and threatened him when he requested her for extra details about the corporate. Yet even after that therapy, Mr. Eisenman poured extra money into the start-up, believing its seemingly fast-growing enterprise would ship riches to backers like him.

When requested about his understanding of the worth of his Theranos inventory right this moment, Mr. Eisenman stated: “It’s not an understanding, it’s a conclusion. It’s worth zero.”

The prosecution’s most compelling proof included a sequence of validation studies that Ms. Holmes despatched to potential buyers and companions that made it look as if pharmaceutical firms together with Pfizer and Schering-Plough had endorsed Theranos’s expertise. Representatives from every firm testified that that they had not endorsed Theranos’s blood take a look at and have been stunned to see their firms’ logos added to the report.

Daniel Edlin, who labored at Theranos and was a fraternity brother of Ms. Holmes’s brother, Christian, testified that the start-up faked demonstrations of its machines for potential buyers, hid expertise failures and threw out irregular blood take a look at outcomes.

Mr. Mattis testified that he was not conscious of any contracts between Theranos and the navy to place its machines on medevac helicopters or on the battlefield, as Ms. Holmes had often informed buyers.

The prosecution concluded its case with testimony from Roger Parloff, the journalist who wrote {a magazine} cowl story about Ms. Holmes, serving to propel her to acclaim. Mr. Parloff’s article was despatched to quite a few buyers as a part of Ms. Holmes’s pitch.

Yet notably absent from the courtroom have been among the most distinguished witnesses on the prosecution’s listing. Ms. Holmes’s rise was aided by her affiliation with enterprise titans such because the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, elder statesmen resembling Henry Kissinger and Adm. Gary Roughead, and the lawyer David Boies. Theranos was felled, partially, by whistle-blowers resembling Tyler Shultz, a grandson of George Shultz, the previous secretary of state, who sat on Theranos’s board. None of them testified.

Also absent was Mr. Balwani, who was charged with fraud alongside Ms. Holmes and faces trial subsequent yr. His position as a fiery defender of Theranos who went after anybody who questioned the corporate has been within the background of a lot of the testimony.

At almost each flip, Ms. Holmes’s legal professionals sought to restrict testimony and proof. They attacked the credibility of buyers, utilizing authorized disclaimers to indicate that buyers knew they have been playing on a younger start-up. The legal professionals additionally poked holes in buyers’ restricted due diligence on Theranos’s claims. At one level, they directed Erika Cheung, a key whistle-blower who labored in Theranos’s lab, to learn the complete organizational chart of the folks employed in lab to indicate she performed a small position within the general operation.

After prosecutors rested their case on Friday, Ms. Holmes’s legal professionals instantly requested the choose for an acquittal and stated the proof was inadequate. They additionally moved to drop sure costs, testimony and proof and succeeded in eradicating one rely of fraud.

Their first witnesses included Trent Middleton, a paralegal on the protection staff’s agency who created studies summarizing info about Theranos, such because the variety of patents, buyers and complete income. Ms. Holmes’s legal professionals additionally referred to as Fabrizio Bonanni, a biotechnology govt who joined Theranos’s board of administrators in 2016, and who described the efforts the start-up made to enhance its processes and insurance policies after it got here underneath fireplace.

Then Ms. Holmes took the stand. Her legal professionals could attempt to shine a highlight on her relationship with Mr. Balwani. The two dated in secret. In court docket filings, Ms. Holmes alleged he was emotionally abusive and controlling. Mr. Balwani’s legal professionals have denied the claims.

Her testimony could open her as much as probably damaging cross-examination from prosecutors or perjury.

“Most criminal defendants do not testify, particularly in white-collar cases where the government has many challenges to overcome, like in proving intent, and sometimes even in just proving that a crime occurred,” Mr. Spektor stated. Ms. Holmes’s case is totally different, he stated, as a result of the offense is obvious lower and the proof is pretty simple to know.

Throughout the proceedings, Ms. Holmes had been quiet within the courtroom, solely whispering to her legal professionals or members of the family. But the jury heard her forcefully defending Theranos towards accusations of fraud in video interviews performed in court docket. It additionally heard her settle for blame.

“I’m the founder and C.E.O. of this company,” she stated in one of many movies. “Anything that happens in this company is my responsibility.”


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