News and Analysis

Elizabeth Holmes Testimony: Everyone’s Fault But Hers
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos, arrives for motion hearing on Monday, November 4, 2019, at the U.S. District Court House inside Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California.
Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Over several hours of testimony broken up across sever days, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes attempted to point the blame at everyone but herself for the company’s fraud and failures.

As The New York Times reported, Holmes’ defense attorneys “have argued that she was merely a young, naïve, ambitious founder who relied too much on others who gave her bad advice” and claimed she lacked experience and expertise. When Holmes actually testified, however, she presented herself the way she had done to investors when Theranos was still operating – as an expert about her company and its technology.

Her first day of testimony lasted just an hour and discussed how she founded Theranos. Her second day of testimony, on Monday, involved Holmes pointing “the blame at the scientists and doctors who had worked at her start-up, saying she believed what they had told her about Theranos’s technology,” according to the Times.

“Ms. Holmes also tried to shift the blame, noting that she learned about Theranos’s technology from the scientists and doctors who worked in the company’s lab. She testified that she believed them when they said the technology worked. The implication: Ms. Holmes could not have intended to deceive investors if she believed the technology was real,” the outlet added.

Holmes’ testimony so far has allowed her to gloss over Theranos’ failures, such as when she discussed the company’s early studies with big pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and others. She also discussed conversations she had with potential pharmacy partners while downplaying or ignoring how those conversations ended.

As to the drug makers, representatives from Pfizer and Schering-Plough testified earlier in the trial that they were unimpressed with Theranos’ technology, something Holmes ignored in her own testimony.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, Holmes claimed her company could provide rapid blood tests using a much smaller amount of blood than conventional tests. Prior to the trial, it was reported that Holmes also planned to blame her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ ex-president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of abuse. Text messages between the two, however, show a loving relationship although Balwani had a reputation for treating employees poorly.

In his excellent documentary, “The Inventor,” filmmaker Alex Gibney revealed that while Balwani was considered a tyrant to those who worked for him, he was deferential to Holmes and always appeared supportive of her and firmly in the number 2 position at Theranos.

Other texts show Holmes and Balwani apparently discussing how to undermine the claims from two Theranos whistleblowers — Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung. The two also discussed how they would respond to reporting from The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou, who months later published a damning article showing that Theranos’ machines could not perform the blood tests they claimed. Carreyrou’s reporting revealed that Theranos was lying about its capabilities and using traditional blood analyzers to run most of its blood tests.

Holmes will continue testimony on Tuesday and is expected to be subjected to cross-examination soon after.

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