Elizabeth Holmes

Former Theranos Employee Says He Was Lured by Company's Promise

NBC Universal, Inc.

Was Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes hiding fraudulent technology, or just waiting for things to click into place?

Testimony Friday in the Holmes fraud trial came largely from a former Theranos employee who said he was lured by the company’s promise but was then told to hide what was really going on -- like many investors convinced to part with millions of dollars.

For five years, Daniel Edlin worked for the company, recruited and hired by Holmes and her brother Christian, who Edlin knew from college.

Among Edlin's duties was giving tours to potential investors and Walgreens employees. He said he left Theranos after five years because he no longer believed in the company.

"It seems to me that perhaps this is a startup employee working with the CEO who became disillusioned,” said Aron Solomon, legal analyst for Esquire Digital. 

But the jury leaned in and listened closely as Edlin testified that he was told by Holmes and her fellow executive Sunny Balwani to avoid certain lab areas on the tour and to work on ways to demonstrate the Theranos blood testing machines without letting on that they didn't yet work.

According to Solomon, it was possibly shady behavior, but also not uncommon among tech startups.

"The idea that this smart, young person decides to leave the company because he no longer believes in its mission is one way to say it,” said Solomon. “The other way to say it is you were there for five years and you didn't figure out the technology didn't work."

Edlin is slated to continue his testimony when the trial resumes next week. 

Meanwhile, testimony was also heard from a former Theranos lab director, who testified that he was hired in 2014 after years of being Balwani's dermatologist.

He testified that he spent very little time at the startup, showing up just twice in nine months.

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