This week, two jurors ask to be excused, citing stress around punishment and the responsibilities in deciding the future of Elizabeth Holmes. A young woman, with unusual ties to this case, gives her perspective as a trial observer, and a veteran Silicon Valley investor puts the Theranos saga in larger context.
More episodes from "The Dropout"
Accusations and Evasions
1:16:23This week, the most jaw-dropping testimony in this trial yet. Elizabeth Holmes fights back tears telling the court she was raped when she was at Stanford and claims she was in an emotional and physically abusive relationship with her former boyfriend and Theranos COO Sunny Balwani, who firmly denies all allegations. Plus, the government begins its cross-examination, and while Elizabeth Holmes seemed to be able to recall her life in vivid detail throughout the defense’s questioning, her memories suddenly got more hazy, even non-existent, at times. Will the jury be thrown by the sudden evasiveness? And ultimately, will charges of abuse negate the allegations of fraud?
Reframing the Narrative
54:38This week, Elizabeth Holmes returns to the stand, presenting herself as a confident CEO with a noble mission who also naively took experts at their word. She meticulously details how she built her business -- even admitting to having doctored those pharmaceutical documents -- but implies over and over again that she relied on information given to her by scientists, doctors and board members to solidify her understanding of where her company stood. Will it be enough to convince a jury that she had no intent to defraud investors?
The Prosecution Rests & Elizabeth Speaks
1:06:21In a monumental week in the trial of United States v. Elizabeth A. Holmes, the prosecution introduced its final week of witnesses before resting its case. Among them, a patient who received troubling results from a Theranos HIV test and a journalist whose damaging interviews with Elizabeth were played for the first time in court. And in a literal final-hour shocker, the defense called Elizabeth Holmes to the stand. Did the government bring its case home? Did Elizabeth begin to sway the jury?
The Beginning of the End
48:08In this episode, we hear from two Theranos lab directors -- one who never met Elizabeth or stepped foot into the company’s lab, another who ultimately voided more than 50,000 Theranos tests after a damning government inspection. And we hear from an irate investor who says Elizabeth Holmes cut off communication with him when he asked for basic information about the company. Plus, 10 weeks into the trial, with only 24 witnesses out of a possible 181 on the government’s initial list having taken the stand, we hear a surprising update from prosecutor Jeffrey Schenk: This week might be the prosecution’s last before it rests its case.
42:33Nine weeks into the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes, we’ve heard from dozens of witnesses -- Elizabeth’s colleagues, board members, investors, clients, scientists, accountants and corporate executives. It's impossible not to feel the repetition. We learn that a fake Pfizer memo wasn’t the only document Theranos falsified, and we’re introduced to a man with deep connections to many of the central players in Elizabeth’s orbit. Patterns in the prosecution’s questioning are beginning to become clear, and experts show us it’s all part of a greater plan.
46:34This week, we hear from high-profile companies and individuals who invested millions of dollars into Theranos, the prosecution reiterating that these investments were made on the basis of what they say was a pattern of misinformation, exaggeration and outright lies coming from Elizabeth Holmes herself. And we hear from a Pfizer scientist who speaks to the supposedly doctored Pfizer document that Theranos showed investors to help lure them in.
40:52This week, we got a peek into how things at Theranos could at times be a full-on family affair. Elizabeth recruited her brother Christian to the company. He, in turn, recruited five of his Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers to join him. The group would come to be known as “The Therabros.” We hear from one Therabro who would rise to the rank of Elizabeth’s lead of strategic operations. He interacted with VIP investors, board members, military officials and business partners, and revealed to the court what the government says was a disturbing pattern of misinformation.
44:42Theranos’ biggest clients, Walgreens and Safeway, are on the stand this week, testifying to what exactly they say they were told before signing multimillion-dollar deals with the blood testing startup. In email exchanges, text messages and board presentations, the prosecution paints a picture of deception while the defense claims the industry giants should’ve known better. Plus, we hear from Sunny Balwani’s dermatologist of 15 years, who happened to also become Theranos’ lab director.
Crime and Punishment
34:19This week, two jurors ask to be excused, citing stress around punishment and the responsibilities in deciding the future of Elizabeth Holmes. A young woman, with unusual ties to this case, gives her perspective as a trial observer, and a veteran Silicon Valley investor puts the Theranos saga in larger context.
Sounding the Alarm
40:23This week, we hear some shocking insights from a former Theranos lab director who says he tried to stop the train before it ran off the tracks. From failing machines to a lack of proficiency testing, he tells of the pressure he felt to vouch for tests while maintaining his integrity as a lab director. And he describes how he says he tried to delay the Walgreens launch, pleading with a “nervous” Elizabeth, who went forward nonetheless. But does an aggressive and lengthy cross-examination undermine his claims?