What to Know
- Elizabeth Holmes rose to fame as the founder and CEO of Theranos, a company that touted a breakthrough blood testing device.
- The device did not work as advertised, and the company, once valued at $9 billion, went under. The SEC then filed fraud charges.
- Prosecutors say Holmes swindled investors and put thousands of patients' lives at risk; she faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
Jury selection in the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial continued Wednesday in downtown San Jose as attorneys for both sides tried to assemble an impartial panel in a highly publicized Silicon Valley case.
Holmes, 37, a Stanford University dropout, rose to fame as the founder and CEO of Theranos, a Palo Alto-based company that touted a breakthrough blood testing device. The company at one point was valued at $9 billion. But the device did not work as promised, and the company went under.
Prosecutors say Holmes not only swindled investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, but she also put thousands of patients' lives at risk with her false claims of a "miracle" device.
Nearly 40 potential jurors were questioned over seven hours during the trial's opening session Tuesday, and 14 were dismissed, according to CNBC. One person questioned said, "I don’t have bias, except for I remember the defendant’s penchant for turtlenecks."
Nine potential jurors who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 were dismissed immediately.
Holmes faces 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy, and if convicted, faces 20 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty.
Court documents show she plans to testify that she was a victim of a decade-long abusive relationship with business partner and ex-boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, whom she alleges controlled her decisions when it came to Theranos.
Balwani's attorneys deny the abuse allegations. He faces similar charges in a separate trial and also has pleaded not guilty.
Jury selection is expected to last two to three days, with opening statements scheduled to begin next week.