Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of blood testing and life sciences firm Theranos, arrives for the primary day of jury choice in her fraud trial, exterior Federal Court docket in San Jose, California on August 31, 2021.
Nick Otto | AFP | Getty Photos
Theranos is not precisely a family phrase, however most of the potential jurors questioned on Tuesday had heard of the corporate or its former CEO, Elizabeth Holmes on the primary day of her felony fraud case.
Practically potential 40 jurors have been questioned over seven hours, and 14 have been dismissed. One mentioned, “I haven’t got bias, aside from I bear in mind the defendant’s penchant for turtlenecks.”
One other juror, who acknowledged he had watched a “60 Minutes” documentary on Theranos, mentioned, “I am simply glad I did not spend money on it.”
Holmes, who appeared solemn, wore a black costume and jacket with a blue masks. She tried to make eye contact with every potential juror as they walked into the courtroom.
Elizabeth Holmes in court docket
Supply: Vicki Behringer
One potential juror, who mentioned she had learn John Carreyrou’s guide concerning the Theranos scandal, “Unhealthy Blood”, works at a healthcare-related firm. She admitted to the decide “there was some quantity of disappointment” after she learn the guide.
“There’s not that many ladies that get to turn into CEOs of a high-powered firm,” she mentioned.
Prosecutors and protection attorneys are looking for a dozen neutral jurors and 5 alternates to take a seat for what’s anticipated to be a 13-week lengthy trial. Holmes and Sunny Balwani, her former enterprise associate and for a time her boyfriend, every face 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Each have pleaded not responsible. Balwani will likely be tried individually.
A number of potential jurors mentioned they’d learn books, watched documentaries, or heard TED talks and podcasts on the subject. U.S. District Court docket Choose Edward Davila urged that potential jurors flip off information alerts to keep away from additional media publicity.
One potential juror revealed he is a information producer at a radio station which he mentioned has featured tales on the high-profile case.
“I have been avoiding the subject at work however in anticipation of jury choice they have been working tales,” he mentioned. “I am not likely certain how I can stay unbiased via the remainder of the trial.”
“I have a look at my pc and all I see is: Theranos, Theranos, Theranos,” he added.
Davila joked, “I am not going to ask you to stop your job, sir,” and later requested him, “Wouldn’t it break your coronary heart severely if I excused you from this jury?”
The decide additionally requested potential jurors about whether or not they or somebody they knew had skilled intimate associate violence. 5 potential jurors raised their fingers. Bombshell court docket paperwork unsealed on Saturday reveal Holmes, 37, plans to say Balwani, 56, psychologically, emotionally and sexually abused her. Within the unsealed filings, Balwani unequivocally denies the allegations.
“The toughest factor for prosecutors to show right here goes to be intent so the extra sympathetic and the extra emotionally malleable potential jurors reveal themselves to be, the extra the protection will need them and the prosecution will need to eliminate them,” James McGarity, jury guide and associate at R&D Strategic Options mentioned. “She actually wants the sympathetic of us.”
One other potential juror instructed protection attorneys that he had left a damaging touch upon Fb when Theranos shut down. “I adopted the corporate as a result of I used to be fascinated by it,” he recalled. “I used to be upset as a result of I assumed the corporate was so cool,” he mentioned. “It was disappointing.”
Jury choice is predicted to final two days with opening statements scheduled to start Sept. 8.
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