Elizabeth Holmes expresses remorse at her criminal trial

Elizabeth Holmes expresses remorse at her criminal trial

San Jose, California. Biotech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, a former billionaire accused of plotting a large-scale medical fraud, expressed remorse while attending the witness stand on Tuesday, but denied trying to hide that her company’s blood-testing methods were not working as promised.

On the third day of her testimony during the high-profile criminal trial, Holmes admitted to making some mistakes as CEO of Theranos, a company she founded in 2003 when she was just 19. But she has repeatedly emphasized that she made most of her decisions with help from other CEOs and a respected board that includes former cabinet members in various presidential administrations.

Holmes, 37, made it clear that she never stopped believing that Theranos would revolutionize healthcare with a technology that was supposed to be able to detect a wide range of diseases and other problems by testing a few drops of blood, even when faced with adversity.


“It’s never smooth sailing, there are always challenges,” Holmes said in his testimony.

Theranos eventually collapsed after a series of explosive articles in the Wall Street Journal, and a review by federal regulators revealed serious and potentially dangerous flaws in the company’s blood tests. The scandal wiped out Holmes’ fortune, estimated at $4.5 billion, in 2014 when she was the subject of a glowing cover story in Fortune magazine.

Holmes addressed several of the thorny areas that government prosecutors highlighted as they presented their case during the first ten weeks of the trial. But she and her lawyers have yet to address a heated issue they proposed as a key defense: whether Holmes is being secretly manipulated by her former lover and former Theranos chief operating officer, Sunny Balwani, into unethical behavior.


In court documents revealed shortly before the trial began in early September, Holmes’ lawyers accused Palwani of subjecting Holmes to “intimate partner abuse.” Balwani, who faces a separate fraud trial next year, has denied the allegations through his attorney.

Balwani’s role as CEO of Theranos debuted on Tuesday for the first time since Holmes took over the platform late last week. At one point, Holmes indirectly criticized Balwani for a rude 2013 email he sent to reprimand former Theranos manager, Surekha Gangakhhidkar, in the middle of the night. Gangakhhidkar, who testified about expressing her concerns about problems with Theranos’ technology, resigned, citing the tension she felt.

Holmes told the jury that she regrets that episode with Gangahidkar. “This is the wrong way to treat people,” she said.

Balwani also made a series of financial predictions that were a focal point of the trial, according to Holmes. In documents distributed to potential investors, Theranos forecast annual returns of $140 million in 2014 and $990 million in 2015. Other evidence presented during the trial showed the company never came close to meeting these goals.


Holmes testified that the 2015 revenue forecast was largely dependent on the expected expansion of 3,000 Walgreens stores not materializing after the retailer pulled out of its partnership with Theranos.

Another moment of regret came when I took responsibility for adding the logo of Pfizer, a major drug maker, to a report praising the effectiveness of Theranos technology. That decision followed an internal report by Pfizer that Holmes said she had never seen? He has expressed doubts about the reliability of Theranos’ blood tests.

“I wish I had done it differently,” said Holmes. Several investors testified that seeing the Pfizer logo in the report helped convince them to invest in Theranos.

Holmes, who raised nearly $1 billion after founding Theranos in 2003, faces allegations of deceiving investors, patients and business partners while running Palo Alto in California. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.

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