What to Know
- Attorneys finalized jury selection in Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial in San Jose.
- The 12 jurors and five alternates were sworn in Thursday; opening statements will begin next week.
- Holmes, the founder of now defunct Theranos, faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
Attorneys in the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial finished selecting 12 jurors and five alternates Thursday, and that panel was seated and sworn in before court adjourned until next week for opening statements.
The jury, consisting of seven men and five women, was instructed by the judge not to talk with people or seek information or view media coverage regarding the case.
Holmes, the founder and former CEO of the now-defunct biotech company Theranos, is accused of defrauding investors and endangering patients' health with a blood-testing product that did not work as advertised.
The biggest obstacle for attorneys during jury selection was finding potential jurors who had little or no knowledge of Holmes and the case against her.
"The problem is with the jurors who are going to be more in the gray area, where either side would prefer to disqualify them, but you know it's going to be slim pickings with the rest of the pool," said Aron Solomon, legal analyst with Esquire Digital.
Holmes, 37, dropped out of Stanford University when she was 19 to develop what was advertised as a breakthrough blood testing device that would at one point turn Theranos into a $9 billion company. But the device did not deliver as promised, and prosecutors say Holmes, along with her business partner and ex-boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, swindled investors and put thousands of patients' lives at risk by continuing to market and profit from the faulty product.
According to court documents, Holmes' defense will contend she was the victim of Balwani's abuse to the point where it affected her judgment and decisions regarding Theranos.
Holmes faces 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Balwani will face similar charges in a separate trial. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The case has been widely publicized, with media coverage and the 2019 documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley" perhaps making it difficult for attorneys to find potential jurors who remain unbiased.
Almost all of the potential jurors questioned said they would be able to give Holmes a fair trial.
If convicted, Holmes faces 20 years in prison.