Theranos case: “If Elizabeth Holmes is acquitted, nothing will change in the culture of Silicon Valley”

Double Pulitzer Prize winner John Carreyrou, son of French radio and television journalist Gérard Carreyrou, followed the trial of Elizabeth Holmes which opened on September 8 in federal court in San José (California). After the closing arguments, Friday, December 17, the verdict was reserved. Mr. Carreyrou revealed on October 16, 2015, in the Wall Street Journal, that the laboratory was lying about the reliability of its machines and had recourse to competing devices.

After this trial, what is your prognosis? Do you have the impression that the jury could be divided?

It’s possible. Elizabeth Holmes’ testimony on November 29 had a great impact. For over an hour, she recounted how her partner Sunny Balwani abused her, both psychologically and sexually. She bluntly accused him of sexual violence. She cried. We don’t know what it is, but she sounded sincere enough. This clearly had an effect on the jurors. I don’t know if he was such that they forgot the other witnesses, but she made some important points. That day, I asked myself: will she be acquitted?

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The next day there was the cross-examination, and some difficult times for her. The balance has been restored a bit. That doesn’t mean that I’m not a little anxious about what the jury will decide. There may be three scenarios: she may be acquitted, convicted, or the jury may not agree on a verdict (hung jury). I hope in any case that she will not be acquitted.

What times were difficult?

The prosecutor asked her about how she tried to prevent the publication of my article in 2015, to intimidate my sources by forwarding them with private investigators, how she threatened them with trial. The aim was to show that this young woman, who appeared so fragile and so emotional the day before, had acted very aggressively when she had come under the threat of disclosures from whistleblowers.

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Moreover, she had to admit that it was she who modified the brochures on Theranos sent to potential investors; she who added the logo of companies like Pfizer without asking their permission; she who removed certain sentences from the document which were not favorable enough to her. The jury could see that it was not the same person. When questioned by her lawyer, she presented the image of a fragile ingenuous. But it can also be brutal and aggressive.

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Theranos case: “If Elizabeth Holmes is acquitted, nothing will change in the culture of Silicon Valley”