Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of the long-awaited Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, who faces dozens of charges fraud and electronic fraud conspiracy.
At the heart of the trial were questions about what exactly Ms Holmes, 37, knew about the problems with Theranos’ blood-testing devices and whether she was intentionally misleading investors about the company’s technology. company technology or not. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.
The case has drawn public attention as another example of a Silicon Valley startup going the wrong way. But Theranos is unusual in that it is led by a businesswoman. Ms. Holmes exploited that distinction, using it to create attention. She often wears a black turtleneck uniform in the style of Steve Jobs and speaks in an unusually low voice. Before Theranos fell from grace, Holmes was crowned the world’s youngest billionaire and regularly photographed magazine covers.
Her high track record could pose a challenge to the jury’s choice. Prosecutors and her defense attorneys can have a hard time choosing jurors who are undecided about the case. About half of the 200 potential jurors consumed media related to the case, according to court filings last week.
Potential jurors filled out a 28-page questionnaire asking them about their media habits, medical history, and knowledge of more than 200 possible witnesses. An even more extensive questionnaire put together by Ms Holmes’ legal team included more than 100 questions. In June, it was dismissed by Judge Edward Davila of the US Northern District Court for the Northern District of California, who is overseeing the case. The trial took place in San Jose, Calif.
Jury selection is expected to last through Wednesday and possibly longer. Opening debates begin next week.