The fate of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is hanging in the balance after jurors said on Monday they were deadlocked on three counts.
In a jury note, a juror told the judge they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on three counts during the seventh full day of deliberations.
Holmes, who founded blood-testing start-up Theranos in 2003 when she was a 19-year-old Stanford student, is on trial here for 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The jury did not indicate if they have reached a decision on the other eight counts being considered.
Judge Edward J. Davila brought the jurors into the courtroom and read the jurors a common instruction for deadlocked juries. He asked them to continue deliberations.
“During your deliberations, you should not hesitate to reexamine your own views and change your opinion if you become persuaded that it is wrong,” he read. “You should not, however, change an honest belief as to the weight or effect of the evidence solely because of the opinions of your fellow jurors or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict.”
Prosecutors alleged that she intentionally misled investors and patients about the capability of her company’s technology.
Holmes pleaded not guilty and during the trial, her defense team argued that she made mistakes but acted in good faith while running the company.
Theranos collapsed in 2018, three years after a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that the company was relying on third-party machines to process blood samples. During the trial, the jury heard from multiple former employees who expressed concern that Theranos was testing its technology on patients before it was ready. Test results were not consistent, they said, and were sometimes incorrect.
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Erika Cheung, a former employee of the company who later reported her concerns to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified that she left the company because she felt her warnings were not being heeded.
“It was starting to get very uncomfortable and very stressful for me working at the company, and I was attempting to tell as many people as I could, but it was not, just not seeming to get through to people,” she said.
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Investors and business partners also testified for the prosecution’s case, saying that their view on the company would have shifted had they known how much Theranos relied on outside machines and the inconsistent working condition of its own device.
What to know about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos who rocketed to fame nearly a decade ago, is accused of misleading investors and patients about the capability of her company’s blood-testing technology.
Holmes is on trial for 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She has pleaded not guilty.
Her defense lawyers have argued that she acted in good faith while running Theranos.
On the stand, Holmes revealed a cornerstone of her defense: that her former partner and the company’s president had allegedly abused and controlled her.
While Theranos might have collapsed, but other blood diagnostic start-ups are still raising cash.