A jury of 12 Northern California residents and five surrogates was sworn in on Thursday for the trial of the fraud Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, is expected to start next week.
The jury consists of seven men and five women.
Over two days, Judge Edward Davila of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, federal prosecutors and Ms Holmes’ defense attorney questioned about 100 potential jurors about their answers to the question. a 28-page questionnaire covering topics including what newspapers they read, whether they know any potential witnesses, and whether they have had negative medical experiences.
A jury will decide the fate of Ms Holmes, who is battling 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud over false claims she made about blood tests and publicity. Theranos business. Her trial was one of Silicon Valley’s most famous fraud cases, and the public’s fascination with Ms Holmes has spawned documentaries, a book and a mini-series with the starring Amanda Seyfried.
Finding jurors who had never heard of Theranos, which collapsed in 2018 after reports that its blood-testing technology wasn’t working as advertised, was challenging.
A potential juror said she had seen a “YouTube loophole” of videos about Ms Holmes. Another said she had seen a social media meme about Ms Holmes’s voice – Ms Holmes seemed to have a lower voice at times – something that contributed to her personality cult and interest to her downfall.
Scheduling is another matter. The trial will last 13 weeks or so. Several jurors have been fired because they have upcoming surgery or long-awaited vacations. Others are exempt because they are teachers and have no one to fill them.
Family abuse is an important topic of discussion. Holmes’ lawyers have indicated that she is likely to argue that she was abused and controlled by her business partner, Ramesh Balwani, known as Sunny, with whom she also ever dated. Mr. Balwani also faces fraud charges. When Judge Davila asked if any of the jurors had experienced domestic abuse on Wednesday, about half of them raised their hands and shared stories they thought could shake the heart. lay their views on evidence and testimony.
Another potential juror worked on a whistleblower program for law enforcement. Theranos was brought down, in part, by two young employees who reported problems with the company’s tests to government agencies and the press. Yet another potential juror was fired for favoritism because his mother-in-law went to jail for embezzlement.
On Wednesday, the prosecution argued that five of the potential jurors Holmes’ lawyers had recommended to be fired for hardship reasons were people of color. Ms Holmes’s lawyers denied any racist records by the jurors.
On Thursday, the attorneys for each side agreed on a jury within an hour, going through a list of jurors between themselves as each side used their allotted “challenge” to eliminate jurors they choose.