SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The fraud trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes hit a snag Thursday after possible COVID exposure of a juror led officials to cancel proceedings for Friday, according to multiple reports.
According to a story published by CNBC early Thursday evening, presiding U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila informed trial attorneys during an emergency hearing held via Zoom that he had gotten an email from juror #9 indicated possible exposure to COVID over the holiday weekend. The juror is was awaiting test results, the report indicated.READ MORE: Volunteers Spread Out Across Bay Area for Annual Coastal Cleanup
The juror is reportedly not experiencing symptoms, but the postponement raised the question of how the coronavirus pandemic could possibly impact the high-profile trial of onetime rising Silicon Valley star Holmes.
Court information on the trial said it would resume on Tuesday.
The trial commenced Wednesday with opening arguments. In his opening statement, prosecuting U.S. Attorney Robert Leach told jurors the case is “about lying and cheating to get money.”
“The defendant’s fraudulent scheme made her a billionaire,” he told jurors. “The scheme brought her fame, it brought her honor, and it brought her adoration. She had become, as she sought, one of the most celebrated CEOs in Silicon Valley and the world, but under the facade of Theranos’ success, there were significant problems brewing.”
Theranos eventually failed in 2018, a few years after a series of explosive stories in The Wall Street Journal exposed serious flaws in its technology and spurred regulatory investigations that shut down the testing.
The fraud committed by Holmes “is a fraud on Main Street and it’s a fraud in Silicon Valley,” Leach told the jury.READ MORE: San Francisco Celebrates Rise of Lowrider Community With Car Show and Cruise
Defense attorney Lance Wade countered that failure was a characteristic of the start-up culture.
“Theranos failed for a lot of reasons,” Wade told jurors. “It failed in part because it made mistakes. Mistakes are not crimes. A failed business does not make a CEO a criminal.”
Wade argued that Holmes was simply trying to wrest control of the blood-testing technology market from two dominant laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.
Pre-trial hearings revealed that the defense of Holmes will focus on allegations of abuse from her co-defendant, onetime boyfriend and former Theranos President Sunny Balwani.
The couple are no longer together — Holmes has since married Billy Evans, a 27-year-old heir to Evans Hotels, and has had a child.
Meanwhile, Balwani faces a separate federal fraud trial that is set to begin on Jan. 11, 2022.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Schools, Public Health Dept. Partner to Provide Campus COVID Vaccinations
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