Trial: She Was 'Starstruck' by Holmes, but Not for Long

Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung testified Tuesday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2021 8:37 AM CDT
Trial: She Was 'Star Struck' by Holmes, but Not for Long
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, arrives at the federal courthouse for jury selection in her trial, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

Tuesday marked the second day that jurors in the Elizabeth Holmes case heard from witnesses, specifically Theranos' controller and a lab worker-turned-whistleblower. A recap:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports the finance-related testimony from controller Danise Yam was meant to bolster prosecutors' assertion that Holmes intentionally lied to investors. Yam, who was with the company for 11 years, said she had no idea where the numbers investors were given—that revenue would hit $140 million in 2014 and surge to $990 million the following year—came from, and that her own calculations had the company hitting $132 million in 2016.
  • In his cross examination, defense attorney Lance Wade focused in part on the role Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani played in the company's finances and financial projection. Yam made clear, however, that "I reported to Elizabeth Holmes."

  • Next came testimony from Erika Cheung, the former Theranos lab worker who in 2015 sent a lengthy letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services detailing a slew of problems at Theranos. She worked at the company for just seven months, reports CNBC, which notes Cheung said she was "starstruck" during her job interview with Holmes, who answered few of her questions. "[Holmes] said you’ll find out when you start working here."
  • Cheung's work involved validation testing on the Edison machine, and as part of that, she would run samples of her own blood. Though she had normal vitamin D levels, the results continually came back as deficient. The Verge reports her emails about the problem were escalated to Holmes and Balwani, and it reports "the problem was resolved, but not in a way Cheung was comfortable with." She didn't have time to delve into why in depth; the Washington Post reports her testimony will continue Wednesday.
(Read about a bizarre ruse that played out among those who came to watch the jury selection.)

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