Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (center) and her attorney are leaving the court on June 15, 2021. Holmes is due to stand trial later this year on wire fraud and other charges.
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was given permission to breastfeed her newborn on Tuesday during the pauses in her upcoming fraud trial. Judge Edward Davila said there will be a designated “rest room” for Holmes to look after their child, who is due to be born next month.
Holmes is charged with referral fraud and referral fraud conspiracy related to her now-defunct healthcare tech start-up Theranos. She pleaded not guilty. The Holmes trial, postponed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and her pregnancy, will be one of the most well-known criminal fraud cases in Silicon Valley history.
The children’s shelter for Holmes came when the judge reduced her proposed 45-page jury form with 112 questions to a 20-page draft.
Kevin Downey, a Holmes attorney, objected to the judge’s simplified questionnaire, saying, “If the jury has a bias, they can’t decide that. We can’t allow the jury to assess their own bias without basic questions cure that. “
Three hundred potential jurors from Northern California will be asked to fill out a questionnaire on August 19th and 20th. The personal jury selection and voir dire (jury survey) will take place on August 31st.
The Holmes questionnaire asks potential jurors how often they read, see, or hear certain journalists and news outlets, including CNBC.
“I know the defense is primarily concerned with media coverage,” said Davila. “You are suggesting that it was derogatory to Miss Holmes and that we have to do something to secure a fair jury for her – and that is what I am trying to do.”
Suggested that we put the more difficult questions first, Davila added, “There’s a concept of questionnaire fatigue. At some point there is less questionnaire return and it actually becomes less accurate the longer it takes.”
Davila said he would not allow detailed questioning of every potential juror, but assured the legal teams, “If we bring the jury in on both sides, they may be surprised, perhaps delighted, that many of them will not know about this case.” . That is a reality of life. “
Prosecutors called Holmes’ proposed list of questions “unnecessarily profoundly intrusive”.
“If anyone reads any of the 46 publications or networks that the defense is trying to identify, it doesn’t tell us anything about what they know about Theranos,” said Kelly Volkar, US assistant attorney. “Even once you’ve read a story, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you kept it or retained any kind of bias or prejudice based on that one article.”
When Holmes entered the courthouse, she refused to answer questions from CNBC.
The two legal teams will review the judge’s questionnaire and he will make a final decision in the coming weeks.
Danny Cevallos, a legal analyst for NBC News, said it would be difficult to find an impartial jury to hear about the case, but claims to be unbiased, “This juror could be a stealth juror – someone who’s one Has an ax to grind, but hides it to get into the jury. “