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Elizabeth Holmes Clutched Her Moms Hand Ahead of Brutal Closing Arguments in Theranos Trial

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Prosecutors slammed the onetime tech wunderkind as callous and criminal while Holmes kept her cool in court.

Saul Sugarman

SAN JOSE, California A federal prosecutor was out for blood Thursday in his detailed closing statement that accused Elizabeth Holmes of duping investors and consumers into believing her novel medical screening technology actually worked, even though it didn't.

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As he began to wrap up a trial that has stretched on for more than 15 weeks, assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Schenk focused on a central accusation that Holmes not only knew her Silicon Valley start-up could not deliver functioning blood testing devices, but intended to lie about those products too, he said.

Holmes made a decision to defraud her investors and patients, Schenk said. That choice was not only callous, it was criminal.

Prosecutors accuse Holmesa 37-year-old Stanford dropoutof conning investors into ponying up $700 million for Theranos, her company founded in 2003 that claimed its devices could perform numerous tests with just a finger prick of blood. In addition to investors, patients shared personal accounts of ill- performed blood screenings, which showed a false-positive test for prostate cancer, and another that said a woman had miscarried even though she hadn't, according to Schenk.

Holmes arrived just before 8 a.m. outside the federal courthouse on a rainy Thursday, greeted by a long line of nearly a hundred spectators and reporters, some of whom had been waiting for five hours to get a seat inside. Rumors circulated that nowin the final days of a trial that had captured such widespread national attentionsome attendees had hired stand-ins via TaskRabbit or dispatched interns to keep their place in line.

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Wearing a cobalt blue shift dress, a complementing light blue mask and black blazer, Holmes clutched the hand of her mother, Noel, and hastily made her way past the crowd and through security. Someone asked as she entered the courthouse, How are you feeling today? She didn't reply.

In the courtroom, Holmes mostly trained a blank gaze on Schenk, whose argument stretched several hours and covered witness testimony, charges, and refuting claims from her attorneys. His point-by-point statement revisited a winding road of all defenses and accusations heard in nearly four months of trial, including her relationship with Ramesh Sunny Balwani, former Theranos president and Holmes ex-boyfriend. He had a bad temper and demanding management style, according to her lawyers, and Holmes said he sexually abused her, which he has denied.

Your verdict does not validate her claims of abuse, Schenk said. You do not need to decide whether abuse happened.

Theranos Elizabeth Holmes appeared in court for the start of closing arguments in her trial.

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Holmes defended herself on the witness stand in the final days of testimony, shifting blame for Theranos faulty products onto company subordinates she trusted. She believed the blood tests were so reliable that Holmes and her relatives used them, too, according to defense attorney Lance Wade. But Schenk fought against those claims Thursday, showing jurors emails and text messages, and replaying recorded phone calls Holmes made to investors discussing company performance and viability.

Imagine for a moment what an honest pitch would have sounded like, Schenk said. She chose fraud over business failure, he said.

Theranos Elizabeth Holmes and her family appeared in court for the start of closing arguments in her trial.

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Shes making false statement after false statement about Theranos work with the Department of Defense in order to get investors, Schenk said.

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In his closing, Holmes attorney Downey said the tech wunderkind was building a business and not a criminal enterprise.

She believed that she had invented a very valid form of technology that she was submitting to the Food and Drug Administration to take to the market, Downey said. She had no fear of showing that technology to people outside the company.

Court adjourned at 3: 45 p.m., and Holmes departed a short time later hand-in- hand with her mother and husband, hotel heir William Billy Evans. Stepping out of the courthouse confidently in black pumps, she locked eyes with Evans in a show of support from him, as photographers and reporters flanked the group from both sides. They followed the family down the street as they walked, peppering questions that Holmes did not answer.

Downey continues his closing statement Friday morning.

Read more on: thedailybeast, arguments

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