What we learned this week in the trial of Elizabeth Holmes
The defense has argued that the accuracy and reliability of the company’s tests were not the responsibility of Holmes and that the legal responsibility fell on those responsible for the laboratory.
An external scientist
The only other witness who took a stand this week was Victoria Sung, a scientist who interacted with Theranos while working at the pharmaceutical company Celgene around 2009. Celgene had entered into an agreement with Theranos at the time to analyze blood of a drug. developing to help treat anemia, Sung said.
But the company eventually decided not to use Theranos, he said, because compared to more established companies, its “results didn’t match or coordinate or align as closely as we’d like.”
An update on the possible defense against Holmes abuses
More court documents related to the pre-trial bombing were sealed this week according to which Holmes could claim he was a victim of intimate partner violence at the hands of her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos CEO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The defense’s argument would probably be that because he trusted him in this context, he lacked the intent to deceive.
Holmes will be able to present his expert testimony in connection with this defense, despite the government’s attempt to have him excluded from the trial, according to the order of Judge Edward Davila of May 2021, which was sealed this week after the Dow Jones , editor of The Wall Street Journal, moved to make a bunch of files public.
More details on Holmes’ level of secrecy
Other unsealed documents this week included notes from two interviews with former employees who spoke with the government about their knowledge of the relationship between Holmes and Balwani. One of the employees was a former personal assistant and described Holmes as “very private.”
Some sensitive items included Holmes’ food preferences. “Holmes’ food replacement lists, at his residence and work, were kept private, ”the employee told the government. “Holmes was private about it because she was vegan for a while and didn’t want it to be a big deal.”
A second former employee, who included the work of ensuring non-disclosure agreements were filed, said “everyone had to sign non-disclosure agreements when they arrived in Theranos, including the person who came in to water the plants.”
A crucial witness
On Friday, during cross-examination, Rosendorff – former director of the Theranos laboratory – emerged as one of the key witnesses in the trial. This was the fourth day of his testimony and he is scheduled to continue another full day on Tuesday, the longest of all the testimonies.
In October 2014, Rosendorff was forwarded emails from concerned doctors who wanted to talk to someone in the lab about a patient’s test results. A week passed after the follow-up emails and Rosendorff had not yet returned the call.
In another case, in October, a doctor had called for a follow-up call with Rosendorff after talking to him earlier. Rosendorff, who was in charge of answering medical questions, was slow to answer.
“I didn’t seem to have a good explanation of the discrepant testosterone levels and I really didn’t know what I could tell the doctor more than I told him on the first phone call,” Rosendorff said.
The defense was trying to show that Rosendorff was dodging his own responsibilities and trying to find inconsistencies in his argument that kept him out of the loop, as the flaws in Theranos’ tests became increasingly apparent.
“I was frustrated by my inability to explain discrepant results,” Rosendorff said. “It culminated on one or two occasions with my refusal to justify the discrepant results to doctors.”
Balwani ended up responding directly to a doctor, sending a detailed response that specifically addressed the issues raised. He also said each lab has unexpected results and investigate any inconsistencies “which is what we always do.”
Rosendorff also confirmed that he had opportunities to meet with the senior leadership team and raise concerns.
Trying to keep a journalist out of the room
Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who broke the story of Theranos, is also among dozens of possible witnesses Holmes may call to testify, though he has not yet been cited.
In a court hearing Friday, his lawyers said “it’s still unclear whether Holmes or why he would really want to call Carreyrou or not in the stands,” and consider it a “trick” to prevent Carreyrou from covering the story. through your podcast.
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