The jury selection for Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, began Tuesday. This spotlighted the fallen Silicon Valley star, now facing felony charges. Holmes is accused of deceiving customers, financial backers and customers into believing her startup would revolutionize medicine.
Theranos’ promise to run hundreds upon scores of medical tests with a single drop blood did not live up to its expectations and may never have been implemented.
After a jury has been seated, the trial will start in San Jose, California. Opening arguments are scheduled for early next week. The trial will focus on Theranos’ rise and fall, which Holmes founded after dropping out from Stanford University in 2003.
It looked as though Holmes might one day realize her lofty ambitions to become the next Steve Jobs. She admired the Apple cofounder and was a role model. Business magazines celebrated the similarities and featured Holmes in covers stories about her vision, her estimated fortune of $4.5 billion, and her stake in Theranos.
Theranos, a company whose name is derived from “therapy” or “diagnosis”, quickly lost momentum after Holmes revealed that the supposedly revolutionary blood-testing machine called Edison didn’t work as Holmes claimed and gave dangerously inaccurate results to tests performed on actual patients.
Holmes could be remembered as Bernie Madoff, a once-famous New York financier who was convicted of bilking billions through an illegal Ponzi scheme. Holmes, 37, could face a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted.
Holmes, who appeared in court Tuesday, maintained her innocence. She was charged by the U.S. in 2018. The pandemic, followed by a long and difficult pregnancy that ended in the birth of her son, delayed Holmes’ trial. Legal observers think that this could make her more sympathetic to the jury.
The selection of jurors is expected to take several working days. Holmes’ story has been widely covered by a Wall Street Journal investigative journalist whose newspaper reports led to her company’s collapse and an HBO documentary called “The Inventor.” Amanda Seyfried will play Holmes in “The Dropout,” a TV miniseries.
In an attempt to create an impartial panel, more than 200 people were called to the jury pool.
The trial will be dramatic and feature billionaire Theranos investors as well as influential figures who sat on Theranos’ board.