Silicon Valley

Former Theranos Executive Sunny Balwani Back in Court as Fraud Trial Continues

NBC Universal, Inc.

Once the hottest of Silicon Valley startups, Theranos was back in a San Jose courtroom Wednesday. 

The trial of Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, the Palo Alto medical device company's former chief operating officer, continued first with a former lab employee and then a former lab director -- each testifying about the inaccuracy of Theranos blood testing machines.

Former Theranos employee turned whistleblower Erika Cheung wrapped up her testimony saying she and other employees deceived regulators and often answered to Balwani.

"So, it's gotta be the prosecution's job here to show that Sunny Balwani called the shots at Theranos as much as Elizabeth Holmes did," said Aron Solomon, legal analyst for Esquire Digital.

As with the Holmes case, Silicon Valley startup culture is also on trial, with jurors asked to decide whether or not Balwani also got so caught up in the quest for success that he was fraudulent when dealing with investors and patients.

"It's very important for people in the startup community, not just in Silicon Valley, but around the world, to see that it doesn't always go as planned, and maybe sticking to your true core values may be the way to go,” said Solomon.

Another witness called to the stand Wednesday was former Theranos lab director Mark Pandori, who testified that the odds of getting an accurate result from some of the blood testing machines was “like flipping a coin.”

Contact Us