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A jury has been selected in California for the upcoming criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the tech entrepreneur accused of defrauding investors of billions of dollars.
Seven men and five women have been selected to decide the fate of the former CEO and founder of Theranos, CNN reports. The jurors are reportedly diverse ethnically and in age.
More than 80 potential jurors were questioned by Holmes' attorneys, prosecutors, and Judge Edward Davila in a San Jose federal courtroom over the course of two days this week. A person who worked at Safeway, a company that once partnered with Theranos, and an attorney who represents domestic violence survivors, were among the possible jurors excused.
The prospective jurors were interviewed about media coverage of Holmes, their feelings regarding law enforcement and any ties to domestic abuse. Earlier this week, it was reported that Holmes’ defense team plans to accuse her ex-boyfriend and former top executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of intimate partner violence. They plan to claim that Holmes was unable to deceive investors because of the controlling nature of their relationship.
Holmes founded the blood-testing start-up company Theranos in 2003 and then claimed to have created technology that can test a patient's blood using only a few drops. While her company was, at its height, valued at around $9 billion, the company came crashing down when she was indicted in 2018 on multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors allege she defrauded numerous investors, as well as doctors and patients, with her false claims about the technology her company had developed.
Holmes has entered a not guilty plea to the charges. Her trial has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her trial date was further postponed due to Holmes' pregnancy; she gave birth to her first child in July.
Opening statements are set to begin on September 8 and the trial is expected to last about 13 weeks.
Journalist John Carreyrou, whose 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation into Theranos is attributed to Holmes’ public downfall, told CNN that he thinks she will take the stand.
"She's a very convincing public speaker. She has great charm and charisma," he said. "It's a risky move because then she'll be cross-examined and cross-examinations are brutal. But, knowing her, I think she's going to take that risk."
Holmes faces 20 years in prison if convicted. Balwani, who has also entered a not guilty plea, is slated to stand trial after Holmes' trial concludes. He also faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
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