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Elizabeth Holmes found guilty of fraud, conspiracy in Theranos case

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 3, 2022

Elizabeth Holmes walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Monday. The jury weighing fraud charges against her said it is deadlocked on three of the 11 felony counts.  (Associated Press )
Elizabeth Holmes walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Monday. The jury weighing fraud charges against her said it is deadlocked on three of the 11 felony counts. (Associated Press )
By Michael Liedtke Associated Press Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy Monday, ending a lengthy trial that captivated Silicon Valley.

The jury found her not guilty of four other felony charges. On the three remaining charges, the jury was deadlocked.

Holmes, who had bowed her head several times before the jury was polled by the judge, remained seated and expressed no visible emotion as the verdicts were read.

After the judge left the courtroom to meet with jurors individually, Holmes got up to hug her partner, Billy Evans, and her parents before leaving with her lawyers.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

SAN JOSE, Calif. –Earlier Monday, the jury informed the judge that it was hopelessly deadlocked on three of the 11 felony counts against the former entrepreneur.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila called the jury back to the courtroom where the lengthy trial has taken place in order to poll jurors on those felony charges. The jurors affirmed their inability to reach a verdict. Davila then sent them back to the jury room to fill out their verdict form.

It’s not clear whether the jury will render its remaining verdicts on Monday. The jury had signaled its deadlock on some charges earlier in the day, but returned to deliberations when urged to do so by the judge.

Holmes, a once-celebrated entrepreneur, was accused of duping investors and patients about a flawed blood-testing technology that she hailed as a medical breakthrough.

Nine of the 11 counts were fraud charges and two revolved around a conspiracy to commit fraud from 2010 to 2015.

During that time, Holmes became a Silicon Valley sensation, one worth $4.5 billion on paper based on her promise that Theranos’ technology would revolutionize health care.

Holmes, 37, faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

“For all intents and purposes, the government only needs a guilty verdict on one count,” said Keri Curtis Axel, a former federal prosecutor now working as a trial lawyer at the Los Angeles law firm Waymaker. She said the hang-up on three counts makes it more likely that jurors have reached guilty verdicts on at least some of the other counts.

David Ring, a lawyer who has been following the Holmes case closely, also interpreted Monday’s note as an indication that Holmes is likely to be convicted on some counts. He expects a resolution this week.

“It could go another day or so before the jury either comes back with a verdict on all counts or sends another note telling the judge they’re still stuck,” Ring said.

Holmes was present at Monday’s hearing to review both notes from the jury. Following jurors’ afternoon exit from the courtroom, she appeared to be bowing her head.

After starting Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old college dropout, Holmes began working on a technology that she repeatedly promised would be able to scan for hundreds of health issues with just a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick. Conventional methods require a needle inserted into a person’s vein to draw a vial of blood for each test.

Holmes believed she could provide more humane, convenient and cheaper blood tests with “mini-labs” in Walgreens and Safeway stores across the U.S., using a small testing device dubbed “Edison” in homage to the famous inventor.

The concept proved to be compelling. Theranos raised more than $900 million from a long list of elite investors, including savvy billionaires such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and software magnate Larry Ellison.

But most people didn’t know that the Theranos’ blood-testing technology kept producing misleading results that led the company to secretly rely on conventional blood testing. Evidence presented at the trial showed Holmes also lied about purported deals that Theranos had reached with big drug companies such as Pfizer and the U.S. military.

In 2015, a series of explosive articles in The Wall Street Journal and a regulatory audit of Theranos’ lab uncovered potentially dangerous flaws in the company’s technology, leading to the company’s eventual collapse.

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