Theranos was caught in a big scandal with the company’s CEO Elizabeth Holmes being the culprit. Her company which promises to revolutionize ways of detecting diseases through a single drop of blood is now going to get her case delayed until early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which had put the world into a stand still.
According to the US District Judge Edward Davila who made it known on Monday that “We’re guided by the cloud of COVID” which has to to with when to kick on Elizabeth Holme’s trial scheduled to begin in October. With Elizabeth Holmes trial postponed to 2021, this would allow for more investigation.
The hearing played out via a Zoom call in which Holmes’ attorneys and prosecutors argued over delaying the start of the trial.
“Proceeding in the midst of a pandemic comes with great risks,” said Lance Wade, an attorney for Holmes. “We think a trial anytime soon is just not realistic, it’s just not safe. If we’re forced to do it we will do it, but it endangers people and we prefer not to.”
However, prosecutors argued the government is ready to proceed as planned.
“From the government’s perspective, we’re ready to go and it’s important to this case that it goes expeditiously”, assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Leach said. “The fraud here is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Davila, who was hesitant about delaying the trial said “to take the foot off the gas pedal makes the finish line more obscured.”
The judge had however set a date for hearing to August which which is when they’ll decide on the exact date for the new trial. According to prosecutor, Holmes as well as her co-defendant who is former Theranos President, Sunny Balwani were alleged to have knowingly deceived investors, business partners and doctors while they’ve promised the cold run hundreds of laboratory tests using a single drop of blood.
Both Holmes and Balwani have denied the allegations and in filings call the government’s case “unconstitutionally vague.”
Theranos at it’s peak was valued at about US$9 billion and was at that time the Silicon Valley’s unicorn startup whose unique approach made it attractive to investors and venture capitalists who chunk in a lot of cash into the business.
According to prosecutors which disclosed it had a list of witnesses numbering up to 170 individuals who live in 15 different states which are COVID-19 hotspots as well as sixteen of those witnesses being over the age of 65 which is why the Elizabeth Holmes trial is being postponed to 2021.
According to the list, former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger could be called to testify in the high-profile trial. They both served on the board of the failed blood-testing startup.
Among the list of witnesses is the media company News Corp which owns The Wall Street Journal which was the first to expose the lies of Theranos. The media company could also bear witness to the criminal trial when the date is finally scheduled.