Jurors will be able to hear limited evidence of the wealth of Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and clients who said they got erroneous blood test results, a judge found in a weekend order that will help shaping his trial for criminal fraud.
Ms Holmes faces several counts of mail fraud for allegedly deceiving investors, patients and doctors about Theranos’ blood testing technology, which claimed to test a range of health issues from a few drops of blood extracted from a finger prick. Ms Holmes has pleaded not guilty and faces trial in August, after several delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and news of her childbirth in July.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, Calif., Issued a 100-page ruling on Saturday night in response to more than 20 motions and three days of hearings on what evidence could be presented at trial.
ELIZABETH HOLMES, FOUNDER OF THERANOS EMBATTLED, MOVES REJECTION OF REGISTRATION
Judge Davila ruled the jury could hear testimony from patients and doctors who used Theranos tests and said they got inaccurate results. Lawyers for Ms Holmes had argued that such testimony would amount to using anecdotes to build the government’s fraud case, since the 11 patients identified did not constitute a statistically significant sample among the millions of tests performed by Theranos.
Judge Davila disagreed. “Evidence of a single inaccurate result tends to show that Theranos produced inaccurate results, although that does not fully prove the point,” he wrote.
The judge, however, limited the former patients to testifying about the facts of the inaccurate test and the money they lost paying for it, and not the emotional or physical damage that could have happened to them had they followed the results of the test. faulty test. A jury could be harmed by the emotional testimony of a patient, for example, whose test results led her to believe she had miscarried when she was in fact still pregnant, the judge found. Davila.
Representatives for Ms. Holmes and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Ms Holmes also argued that the government’s case is only anecdotal because it does not have access to a database that has recorded millions of Theranos blood tests and quality control data. Ms Holmes and prosecutors blame each other for causing the complex database to become inaccessible by the time Theranos closed in 2018.
For now, Judge Davila has ruled, prosecutors will not be able to tell jurors her account of “Theranos’” nefarious destruction “of the database while she was under a grand jury subpoena. He said he could reverse the decision if they can show a more direct connection to their case against Ms Holmes.
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Judge Davila restricted the type of details prosecutors can give about Ms Holmes’ way of life, finding that while her status as the CEO of Silicon Valley and the wealth and benefits that this role has given her are appropriate to mention, government lawyers should stop citing specific information. purchases or brands of clothing, hotels or other personal items that she has spent money on. The judge said that “whenever Holmes made an extravagant purchase, it is reasonable to infer that she knew her fraudulent activity enabled her to pay for these items.”
In a victory for prosecutors, Judge Davila said the government could present evidence related to Food and Drug Administration inspections of Theranos Laboratories and a 2016 report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that found deficiencies in the lab.
The judge agreed with Ms Holmes that prosecutors cannot present swear words that Theranos employees addressed to reporters and competitors, saying they are doing little to help prove claims that the technology was inaccurate and misled investors and clients.
Judge Davila also ruled that a series of Wall Street Journal articles on Theranos could not be presented by prosecutors as evidence. Prosecutors said the articles would help show Ms Holmes doubled down on her fraud even after it began to come to light, but Judge Davila said the articles were not admissible because the reporters who wrote the articles would not testify.
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The Journal first reported in 2015 that the company’s proprietary technology was unreliable, and that the company performed most of its tests on standard blood testing machines that it sometimes modified.
Find out more about The Wall Street Journal, Click here.