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Whether you read Bad Blood, watched the HBO documentary The Inventor, or simply remember the shocking news story breaking, it’s hard not to be intrigued by Elizabeth Holmes. The founder of blood testing startup Theranos is currently being charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her trial began on Wednesday in San Jose, California, and if convicted, the former girlboss could face up to 20 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty.
The entire situation is bizarre—if you recall, Holmes was once thought to be one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires, until her blood testing technology was debunked—but the cult of personality behind Holmes makes the trial even stranger. Holmes famously spoke in a low baritone and wore Steve Jobs-inspired outfits of black turtlenecks, tying her hair into a low, blonde bun. Though Holmes is being tried for felony, it seems that she still has fans standing by her.
At the trial, Law360 reporter Dorothy Atkins snapped a photograph of what appears to be Elizabeth Holmes cosplayers, standing outside the courthouse in Holmes’s signature bun and black top combo.
In the trial itself, prosecutors are arguing that Holmes deceived investors, buyers, doctors, and patients with her device, which she said could conduct lab tests portably with a pinprick of blood. The device never worked and Holmes was indicted three years ago. The trial has been delayed multiple times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then due to Holmes’s pregnancy. She gave birth in August 2021. Holmes’s defense is arguing that she did not knowingly cheat investors, but instead always believed she was on the verge of a breakthrough.
“Failure is not a crime,” said defense attorney Lance Wade, per the AP. “Trying your hardest is not a crime. A failed business does not make a CEO a criminal.”
Meanwhile, Robert Leach, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, who is leading the prosecution for the government, said, per the New York Times, “This is a case about fraud and about lying and cheating to get money.”
Leach continued, “Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie.”
Holmes’s trial is ongoing and is expected to continue over the next three to four months.
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