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Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos Trial Delayed Until October Due To Coronavirus

Elizabeth Holmes was indicted on wire fraud charges in 2018 and has pleaded not guilty. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

By Courtney Brogle
The Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes Case, Explained

The trial of Elizabeth Holmes, CEO and founder of disgraced Silicon Valley blood-testing start-up Theranos, has been pushed back to October due to health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal fraud trial, which will take place in San Jose, was originally slated for a date in July. However, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila explained that the current health crisis has forced the trial to start on Oct. 27.

"We're in unchartered waters and unchartered territories," he said, according to CNBC. "We need to make sure the environment is safe for all parties, including the jury that's called to hear the matter."

Davila added that, depending on the threat of the coronavirus in the fall, the trial may even have to be pushed to early 2021.

A status memo filed this week by Holmes' legal team acknowledged that conducting a high-profile case during the pandemic was in no one's best interest.

"We are confident that the Court and all trial participants will make all possible adjustments and work through these and other health-related issues as safely and diligently as they possibly can, but it remains true that in a trial of this length, with this number of participants, significant risks remain," the memo read.

Holmes originally founded Theranos in 2003, and touted her estimated $9 billion health care start-up as a revolution in blood testing, Oxygen.com previously reported. The company claimed to have developed a proprietary device that could conduct hundreds of medical tests from a single drop of blood. However, in 2015 a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that the facility routinely produced inaccurate results and the company was actually utilizing other commercially availably testing options.

Along with former COO and president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, Holmes allegedly defrauded "more than $700 million from investors," People reported. 

Holmes settled with the SEC in March 2018 and agreed to pay $500,000 and give up majority control of Theranos. She also submitted to a ban on serving as a director or officer of a public company for 10 years, but was fervent that she was not guilty and that the company had simply "made mistakes," according to a 2017 deposition obtained by ABC News.

Holmes and Balwani were indicted by federal prosecutors in June 2018 on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Both have pleaded not guilty but face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to CNBC.

Prosecutors have estimated that Holmes' trial would last about 40 days, Oxygen.com previously reported. Balwani will be tried separately after Holmes' trial wraps, according to Bloomberg.