SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes took the witness stand in a surprising development late Friday in her criminal fraud trial. The former entrepreneur will attempt to refute the U.S. government’s allegations that to she bamboozled investors and patients into believing that her startup, Theranos, would reshape health care.

Holmes’s decision to give evidence so soon in her defense was quite a shocker and carries great risk. The federal prosecutors indicated that they were eager to question Holmes under oath during their presentation of the case against Holmes.

Holmes moved slowly towards the witness stand in front of a packed courtroom with witnesses and jurors all dressed in masks. Five hours had passed since Holmes took the stand, after the prosecution rested its case against her that it had spent the last three months building.

Holmes opened her testimony recounting her time at Stanford University, her first years, and how she became interested in disease detection. While working alongside Channing Robson, a highly respected professor of chemistry, Holmes would go on to tell the story.

“He encouraged me to continue my research,” Holmes recalled. She spoke in a husky voice that became one of her trademarks as she raised hundreds of millions of dollars and touted the revolutionary potential of Theranos’ technology.

Holmes testified that Holmes convinced her to use her savings for college for her plans to revolutionize the healthcare industry after she had created a business plan.

“I started working all the time…trying to meet people who could help me could build this,” Holmes said.


It’s unlikely that those prosecutors will get that opportunity until Monday at the earliest, when the trial resumes. The government’s evidence included testimony from 29 witnesses, including former U.S. Defense Secretary and former Theranos board member Gen. James Mattis, as well as internal documents and sometimes salacious texts between Holmes and her former lover, Sunny Bulwani, who also served as Theranos’ chief operating officer.

THIS IS BREAKING NEWS. AP’s earlier story follows below.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The government rested its case Friday in the trial of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes after spending more than two months trying to prove she bamboozled investors and patients into believing that her startup, Theranos, would reshape health care.

Holmes and her lawyers have now the chance to challenge evidence presented by prosecutors. They accuse Holmes of being a fame-obsessed, greedy swindler. The prosecutors are expected to also argue that Holmes and her team of lawyers never violated the law in pursuit of her ambitious ambitions to revolutionize the blood-testing business with revolutionary technology.

Now, there is a big question: Will Holmes stand for her defense?

Her lawyers aren’t saying. However, this could be her only chance to convince the jury that she is innocent of fraud charges. This could lead to her spending up to 20 years in prison.

Holmes, a former entrepreneur, has stood stoically in front of the jurors who will decide her fate for three months. Holmes is often seen standing straight up in her chair staring at the sky, and Holmes remains impassive as her supporters testify to her misgivings.

But jurors still have to be heard recordings of Holmes boasting to investorsThere were purported advances in blood-testing technology, but they turned out to be false.

Prosecutors called an array of witnesses in an effort to prove that Holmes endangered patient’s lives while also duping investors and customers about Theranos’ technology. The Edison, a Theranos device that could scan blood for hundreds of different health conditions would be the pitch. The Edison could have revolutionized healthcare if it was able to work as it promised.

Each of the existing tests requires a vial. It is slow and difficult to do more than one patient test at once.

The trial featured testimony from witnesses and evidence that strongly suggested Holmes misrepresented deals with large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, the U.S. Military and also concealed recurring issues with Edison.

In the prelude to the trial, Holmes’ lawyers filed papers stating she may testify about being manipulated by her former boyfriend — and Theranos’ former chief operating officer — Sunny Balwani, who faces similar charges in another criminal trial scheduled to begin early next year. In their cross-examination of government witnesses, Holmes’ lawyers have repeatedly tried to vilify Balwani.

The Edison problems didn’t become public knowledge, though, until The Wall Street Journal published the first in a series of explosive articlesIn October 2015, the Centers for Medicare Services and Medicaid Services released the findings of their audit.

Holmes and Balwani were already able to raise hundreds of millions from investors like Rupert Murdoch, media mogul and Walmart family member. They also made deals with Walgreens (for blood testing in their stores) and Safeway (for more information). Those investments at one point valued Theranos at $9 billion, giving Holmes a $4.5 billion fortune — on paper — in 2014.

The trial evidence also demonstrated that Holmes provided financial projections indicating that Theranos, a privately owned company, would generate revenue of $140million in 2014 and revenue of $990million in 2015. Holmes also claimed that they could turn a profit while still turning a profit. A copy of Theranos’ 2015 tax return presented as part of the trial evidence showed the company had revenues of less than $500,000 that year while reporting accumulated losses of $585 million.

Ellen Kreitzberg from Santa Clara University, who is an attorney, has been following the trial and said that the government presented a solid case.

“There’s nothing sort of fancy or sexy about this testimony,” she said. “The witnesses were very careful in their testimony. All of them did not seem to have any animus or grudges against her. And so because of that, they were very powerful witnesses.”

The government called 29 witnesses, including two former Theranos laboratory directors. They repeatedly told Holmes that Theranos’ blood-testing technology wasn’t reliable. Prosecutors also questioned two part-time lab directors, including Balwani’s dermatologist, who spent only a few hours scrutinizing Theranos’ blood-testing technology during late 2014 and most of 2015. As Holmes’ lawyers noted, the part-time lab directors were allowed under government regulations.

Additional key witnesses include former employees at Pfizer, Safeway CEO Steve Burd, and an assortment of Theranos investor representatives, such as Betsy DeVos who was the ex-education secretary under President Barack Obama. Donald Trump. The DeVos clan invested $100 million.

It was perhaps just as notable whom the government didn’t summon to the stand from the list of nearly 200 potential witnesses that it submitted before the trial began. That list included two former Theranos board members who were part of Presidential cabinets — Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State during the Nixon administration, and William Perry, Secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration.

Although Holmes’ lawyers simply must present a case that persuades jurors that the government has not met its burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, they probably will go beyond that threshold, predicted Jessica Roth, a law professor at Yeshiva University in New York,

“What the defense will do is present witnesses and documentary evidence, much as the prosecution would, to support its claim that Elizabeth Holmes did not have an intent to deceive anybody,” Roth said.


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