A businesswoman accused of defrauding investors worth millions of dollars with a fake blood test surprised a US court by testifying in her defense.
Elizabeth Holmes is accused of making false claims about her company Theranos, including the fact that her technology could detect disease with a drop of blood.
Ms. Holmes, 37, faces multiple fraud charges and could spend years in prison if found guilty. You deny wrongdoing.
At its peak, his company was valued at $ 9 billion (£ 6.5 billion).
Taking a stand, Holmes said her work in Theranos made her believe in the company’s technology.
He explained how he founded the company after leaving Stanford University and how his team made an apparent technological breakthrough.
“We have worked with teams of scientists and engineers for years to miniaturize all the technologies in the laboratory,” he told jurors.
- Who is Elizabeth Holmes and why is she on trial?
During the two-month trial, jurors in California heard testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses. They include patients and investors that prosecutors say Ms. Holmes misled.
Ms. Holmes rose to fame in 2013 thanks to technology she claimed she could test for multiple diseases using just a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
It attracted high-profile investors including Rupert Murdoch, but in 2015 a whistleblower revealed that the tests didn’t work and the billionaire fell out of favor.
In 2018, Theranos had collapsed amid one of the biggest corporate scandals in recent U.S. history.
Ms. Holmes pleaded not guilty to nine counts of computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy.
His lawyers say he did not intend to defraud, but instead “naively underestimated” the challenges his business faced.
The trial, which began in September, is expected to last until next month.
It has been described as the Silicon Valley process of the decade.
Books, podcasts, and even a Hollywood movie have been commissioned about what happened to the company.
However, until now it was unclear whether Ms. Holmes would testify: defendants are not required to testify in US criminal cases.
By removing her mask, the jury was able to see the defendant for the first time.
He smiled and spoke confidently about the company’s origins and why he wanted to help people.
It’s a seriously risky move for the defense, as it now opens Mrs. Holmes for cross-examination.
The move could be seen as a sign of weakness, allowing prosecution on the matter in a fraud case could backfire.
But Holmes clearly believes he can convince jurors that his intentions were honorable and that he was unaware of Theranos’ major problems.
It has a lot of things at stake. If found guilty, she faces 20 years in prison.
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