What we learned from the Elizabeth Holmes trial this week

This statement comes from the former Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff, who has been on the stand for four days and will continue his testimony on Tuesday. Rosendorff said at the booth that he felt “pressured to vouch for tests that I do not trust” and that he felt “morally and ethically obliged” to report to the public what was happening in the company.

The defense argued that the accuracy and reliability of the company’s tests were not the responsibility of Holmes and that legal responsibility lay with the laboratory managers.

Rosendorff testified on Tuesday that after leaving the company, he spoke to then Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou because he felt he was “morally and ethically obliged to warn the public.” Carreyrou, who broke the company wide open in 2015, tweeted Rosendorff is “my first and most important source”.

An outside scientist

The only other Witness who took a stand this week was Victoria Sung, a scientist who interacted with Theranos while working at biopharmaceutical company Celgene around 2009. Celgene had an agreement with Theranos at the time to do blood tests for a drug it was designed to help treat anemia, Sung testified.

Ultimately, however, the company decided against using Theranos because, compared to more established companies, “the results do not match or are as well coordinated as we would like them to be”.

An update on Holmes’ possible defense against abuse

This week, more court documents relating to the pre-trial bomb that Holmes may claim was a victim of intimate partner violence by her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos chief operating officer, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were unsealed. The defense’s argument would likely be that they had no intention of deceiving as they relied on him for this.

Her relationship with the media is also on trial in the Elizabeth Holmes crime

Holmes will be able to present her expert witness on that defense, despite the government trying to exclude her from the trial, according to Judge Edward Davila’s May 2021 order unsealed this week according to Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal editor moved to make a plethora of submissions public.

More details on Holmes’ secrecy level

Among other documents unsealed this week were notes from two interviews with former employees who spoke to the government about their knowledge of the Holmes-Balwani relationship. One of the staff was a former personal assistant and described Holmes as “very private”.

One of the sensitive issues was Holmes’ food preferences. “Lists in which Holmes groceries were replenished at home and at work were kept private,” said the government official. “Holmes was private about this because she was vegan for a while and didn’t want it to be a big deal.”

A second former employee who, among other things, ensured that nondisclosure agreements were filed, said that “everyone who came to Theranos had to sign a nondisclosure agreement, including the person who watered the plants.”

A crucial witness

In the cross-examination on Friday, Rosendorff – the former head of the Theranos laboratory – appeared as one of the main witnesses of the trial. This was the fourth day of his testimony, and he will last a full day on Tuesday – by far the longest witness.

In October 2014, Rosendorff received emails from concerned doctors who wanted to speak to someone in the lab about a patient’s test results. After more emails, a week passed and Rosendorff still hadn’t called back.

In another case in October, a doctor asked Rosendorff for a follow-up interview after speaking to him beforehand. Rosendorff, who was responsible for answering medical questions, reacted hesitantly.

“I didn’t feel I had a good explanation for the different testosterone levels, and I really didn’t know what more to say to the doctor than what I said on the first phone call,” said Rosendorff.

The defense tried to show that Rosendorff was shirking his own responsibility and tried to find contradictions in his argument that he was being kept out of the loop as the errors in Theranos’ tests became more and more apparent.

Elizabeth Holmes put the reporter who spread the Theranos story on her witness list.  His lawyers call it one

“I was frustrated with my inability to explain conflicting results,” said Rosendorff. “It culminated once or twice in my refusal to justify the differing results to the doctors.”

Balwani eventually replied directly to a doctor and sent back a detailed response specifically addressing the issues raised. He also said that every laboratory has unexpected results, and investigate any inconsistencies, “which is what we always do”.

Rosendorff also acknowledged that he had an opportunity to meet with the senior leadership team and raise concerns.

Try to keep a journalist out of the courtroom

Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who published the Theranos story, is also among dozens of possible witnesses Holmes can summon as a witness, although he has yet to be summoned.

In a court file on Friday, his lawyers said “it remains completely unclear whether or why Holmes actually wants Carreyrou to take the stand,” and they attribute it to a “hoax” to prevent Carreyrou from covering up the story through his podcast .


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