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'I Practice For Compassion:' Buddhist Juror Excused From Elizabeth Holmes Trial For Religious Reasons
"I am a Buddhist, and so I practice for compassion, you know, for loving and forgiveness," the juror said before being dismissed from Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial in California.
A juror has been excused from the Elizabeth Holmes criminal trial in California this week because of religious reasons.
Juror No. 4 was excused on Wednesday by District Judge Edward Davila. The prosecution requested her excusal; Holmes’ defense team did not object.
"I am a Buddhist, and so I practice for compassion, you know, for loving and forgiveness," the juror had told the judge.
The excused juror had told the court that she was anxious about how the disgraced tech entrepreneur would be "punished by the government" if she helped find her guilty.
Holmes faces 20 years in prison if convicted on multiple charges, including wire fraud.
"I keep thinking about this every day," the dismissed juror said.
The alternate juror who will be replacing juror No. 4 also told Davila that she had qualms about her role as a juror, though did not cite her faith. She said that she felt anxious about making such an important decision about someone “so young.”
"It's my first time in this situation and it's her future," the alternate juror said. "I don't know if I'm 100% ready to participate in something like this."
Nevertheless, the court ruled that the alternate was fit to replace juror No. 4.
The change in jury comes 12 days into Holmes’ trial, which aims to determine the disgraced tech entrepreneur's fate. Holmes founded the blood-testing start-up company Theranos in 2003 and claimed to have created technology that can test a patient's blood using just a few drops.
While her company was, at its height, valued at around $9 billion, Theranos came crashing down when Holmes 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 supposedly developed.
Holmes' trial has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was further postponed due to her pregnancy; she gave birth to her first child in July.