SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Elizabeth Holmes’ face was stoic and her body was motionless when a jury’s long-awaited verdict was announced in a San Jose courtroom late Monday afternoon.
The jury found Holmes guilty on four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy. Jurors acquitted Holmes on four other counts.
The former CEO of Theranos was not immediately taken into custody. She left the courthouse with her family surrounded by a swarm of media cameras. Silicon Valley’s former “golden girl” did not answer any questions from reporters who followed her down the street.
When will Holmes be locked up in a federal prison cell? Legal analyst Michele Hagan said first Holmes must be sentenced at a hearing, which will not likely happen for another month.
Holmes was charged with 11 criminal counts of fraud and conspiracy. The jury deadlocked on three counts, but U.S. District Judge Edward Davila pushed forward Monday by ordering the jury to reveal its verdict on the other eight counts.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and Davila will decide Holmes’ sentence.
The victims in this case were wealthy investors who poured millions of dollars into Holmes’ Silicon Valley biotech company, as well as patients who suffered health scares when they received false blood test results.
Twenty-nine witnesses testified against Holmes.
“The prosecution did a good job of presenting more than enough evidence to convict Elizabeth Holmes,” Hagan told KRON4.
The defense only called on three witnesses, including Holmes herself as the star witness. She cast the blame on everyone around her at Theranos.
“She testified about her version of reality,” Hagan said.
Intentions and motives
Holmes’ guilt or innocence hinged on two crucial questions: What were her true intentions and motives? Prosecutors said Holmes was driven by a fear of failure, and burning desire for fame and money.
“She was willing to do anything,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bostic told the jury during his rebuttal to closing arguments.
Holmes claimed Theranos’ breakthrough technology could scan for hundreds of health problems using just a few drops of blood taken from a patient’s finger prick. Patients who testified against Holmes included a woman who was told, based on her blood test results, she had suffered a miscarriage. Months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby.
“What was the darker truth at Theranos? There were people at Theranos who cared about tests being accurate. The problem is, Mrs. Holmes was not one of those people, and she was in charge. The evidence at trial demonstrated there were very serious problems with Theranos technology. It didn’t take hindsight to see those problems. The facts, the truth, were fatal to Theranos. And Elizabeth Holmes knew that,” Bostic said.
“She turned to breaking the law. She committed these crimes because she was desperate for this company to succeed. That was her motive,” Bostic added.
Holmes is 37 years old. Between 2010-2016, the years she is accused of committing crimes, Holmes was in her mid 20’s and late 20’s.
“She was old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, between honesty and dishonesty,” Bostic said.
Holmes’ defense painted her as a young, naïve businesswoman who tried her hardest to revolutionize healthcare and ultimately failed.
“Failure is not a crime,” defense attorney Lance Wade said.
Defense attorney Kevin Downey told the jury, “Elizabeth Holmes was building a business and not a criminal enterprise. Her interest was not in making money. It was to bring this technology to the world.”
“At the first sign of trouble crooks cash out, criminals cover up, and rats flee a sinking ship. Did she take her money and get out? No, she stayed. She went down with that ship. That’s who that woman is,” Downey said.
Key witnesses who testified against Holmes:
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis
Mattis testified that Holmes impressed him because she was “sharp,” “articulate,” and “committed.” He joined Theranos’ board of director and invested in the company.
Once a strong believer in Theranos’ mission, Mattis testified that he eventually realized the Holmes had misled him with empty promises.
Whistleblower and former Theranos lab tech Erika Cheung
Theranos blood testing machines failed so frequently that employees in the lab worked around-the-clock recalibrating, Cheung testified.
Cheung testified that she was afraid of the company’s executives. After she quit, Cheung received an email from the company’s legal team threatening her with a defamation lawsuit.
Ex-Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff
As Theranos’ top lab director, Rosendorff was legally responsible for making sure blood tests were accurate. The defense poked holes in Rosendorff’s credibility and ethical integrity, Hagan said.
When Rosendorff quit Theranos, he leaked information to the Wall Street Journal. John Carreyrou, a former WSJ reporter and and author of “Bad Blood,” revealed that Rosendorff was his “Deep Throat” for an investigative series into Theranos.
Ex-Safeway CEO Steven Burd and ex-Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon
Two businessmen who helped make multi-million-dollar deals with Theranos, former Safeway CEO Steve Burd and former Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon, both had close personal relationships with Holmes.
Walgreens and Safeway were aiming for the same goal in 2010 – they wanted to put Theranos blood testing machines in all of their store pharmacies.
Miquelon wrote an email in 2010 to his fellow Walgreens executives saying, “We will be the gateway into primary care and the gateway out. Then we really will be the most important player in U.S. healthcare.”
Patient Brittany Gould
Gould was told she had a miscarriage in 2014 because a Theranos blood test wrongly indicated her HCG levels were falling dramatically. Gould later gave birth to a healthy girl.
Prosecutors showed the jury a letter from Christian Holmes, Elizabeth Holmes’ brother and a Theranos employee, who wrote an apology to Gould’s doctor, saying “these errors are extremely rare.”
Fortune magazine reporter Roger Parloff
Parloff wrote a flattering Fortune magazine cover story profiling Holmes. The story vaulted her into stardom. He testified that he was awed by Holmes and her “remarkable company.” The article contained inaccurate information about what Theranos technology was capable of performing.
Three jurors were dismissed from Holmes’ trial. One juror was dismissed the first day of the trial because her employer would not pay for such a long absence.
A second juror asked to be excused for religious reasons. The woman told the judge that she is Buddhist. She couldn’t live with herself if she was responsible for putting Holmes in a prison cell, the juror said.
A third juror was dismissed after she was caught by another juror playing Sudoku on her phone. The juror admitted to playing Sudoku during several days of testimony.
There were enough alternates to replace the dismissed jurors and keep the trial going.