Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a blood testing and life science company, arrives on the first day of a fraud trial outside the federal court in San Jose, California. September 8, 2021.
Nick Otto | AFP | Getty Images
San Jose, California. ——The defense lawyer of the troubled Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes raised the issue of fair trial because it is possible to disclose the personal information, beliefs and habits of the jury.
Eleven media companies, including NBCUniversal, are asking judges to issue a jury questionnaire. US District Court Judge Edward Davila (Edward Davila) initially told jurors that their questionnaire was designed to determine the potential bias of the jury and would be kept confidential.
Davila met with each juror individually and discussed the issue of the disclosure of their personal information.
Sherlock Holmes’s lawyer Kevin Downey told the judge on Wednesday that they were concerned that opening the jury questionnaire at this time might interfere with Sherlock Holmes’s right to a fair trial. “Some [juror] The comments caused concern,” Downey said.
“We need to make sure that we don’t have jurors report the reaction that affects their ability to serve,” Downey told the judge. Davila said that he will hold a hearing in the next five weeks to decide whether the questionnaire will be unsealed.
The jurors completed a 28-page questionnaire, asking them about their media exposure, their views on healthcare, venture capital, religious beliefs, and other topics.
The form also includes the juror’s name, education, occupation, criminal record and other personal information.
Danny Cevallos, a legal analyst at NBC News, said: “I think the jurors will make mistakes because they are worried about what is public. This is a very high-profile trial and they know they are under review.”
Cevalos said it is not common to open the jury questionnaire during the trial, but “the media is now interested in learning about this jury.”
The jury to determine the fate of Holmes is composed of eight men, four women and three alternate members. Last week, a juror was dismissed after disclosing that she was a Buddhist and worried about voting for imprisonment.
“When they answer the questionnaire, they may not know that it will be popular in other parts of the world,” Cevalos said. “It might make them feel uncomfortable.”
Holmes was a dropout of Stanford University. He founded Theranos at the age of 19. If convicted, he would face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of 3 million US dollars. The prosecutor accused her of participating in a multi-million dollar fraud that misled investors and patients about her company’s blood testing technology. Holmes pleaded not guilty.
In its heyday, Theranos was valued at US$9 billion. Holmes once attracted world business and political leaders who invested in Theranos and served on the board of directors. Many of them were witnesses in her criminal trial.
Former Walgreens Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon made his position clear after the delay in the morning. Miquelon told jurors that Walgreens invested $140 million in Theranos to install Edison’s blood testing equipment in 40 stores in Arizona and California.
Miquelon testified that he was told that the in-store testing center “would be better, faster and cheaper.” The executive who worked at Walgreens from 2008 to 2014 said that his understanding is that the customer’s “blood will be tested on Edison equipment.”
Walgreens terminated its partnership with Theranos in 2016 and eventually sued the Silicon Valley startup for breach of contract.
Miquelon is the second retail executive heard by the jurors during the trial. Steve Burd, the former CEO of Safeway, testified that he was initially fascinated by Holmes for two days, but was frustrated with the nearly $400 million partnership after several delays in launching.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.