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Elizabeth Holmes Loses Bid to Keep Patients Out of It

Former Theranos patients will be allowed to testify
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2021 10:23 AM CDT
Key Ruling Made in Advance of Elizabeth Holmes' Trial
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, left, leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.   (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group via AP)

(Newser) – "The most powerful evidence often comes from patients themselves," a Florida attorney who has handled dozens of federal fraud cases tied to the health industry tells the Wall Street Journal, saying they can make the details of the case come alive for the jury. On Wednesday, a judge decided such potentially powerful testimony can factor into Elizabeth Holmes' upcoming trial, which is due to start with jury selection on Aug. 31. Lawyers for the Theranos founder had tried to keep those former Theranos patients from testifying about what they say were faulty results they got from their Theranos tests. The Journal details some of what potential witnesses say they experienced: tests that wrongly indicated the presence of advanced prostate cancer, a miscarriage, and HIV.

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CNBC reports Holmes' lawyers had argued this testimony should be kept out of the trial because the blame rested with the government for not preserving a key database—the Laboratory Information System—that held the accuracy and failure rates of Theranos' blood tests over a three-year period. Absent it, her lawyers said anecdotes about those tests shouldn't be allowed. But US District Judge Edward Davila put the blame largely on Theranos, saying when prosecutors received their copy of the LIS in 2018, Theranos did not convey that an encryption key was required, and that they did not have that key; four days later, Theranos took apart the servers that held its own copy. BuzzFeed notes an earlier ruling will mean that patient testimony is restricted to the facts, with no discussion of any physical or emotional fallout they experienced from the tests. (Read more Elizabeth Holmes stories.)

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