The testimony of Elizabeth Holmes is set to stretch into its third week on Tuesday with more questions from prosecutors.
Ms. Holmes, who founded the blood testing start-up Theranos after dropping out of Stanford University in 2003, faces charges of defrauding investors and patients with claims she made about Theranos’s technology and business. The company raised $945 million in funding and conducted millions of blood tests before dissolving in 2018 amid scandal.
Ms. Holmes’s cross-examination began last week, when prosecutors grilled her over evidence that directly connected her to the problems with Theranos’s tests. Prosecutors must convince a jury that Ms. Holmes knew she was deceiving people — something she has resisted by claiming ignorance and naïveté.
Her testimony is expected to end on Tuesday, and her lawyers could end their defense as soon as this week.
In court, prosecutors have shown personal documents like text messages and notes that Ms. Holmes wrote and have emphasized that, as chief executive and founder, she was ultimately responsible for the problems at Theranos.
They have also used reports on Theranos’s blood tests that Ms. Holmes doctored before sending to potential investors and business partners. Ms. Holmes, 37, admitted she added logos of drug company to the reports, which investors took as endorsements from those companies, and deleted or altered language. She said she wished she had “done it differently.”
In her initial testimony, Ms. Holmes’s lawyers tried to show that there were kernels of truth inside many of the claims that she had made. They used emails from former lab directors sharing the results of successful tests, as well as those that showed discussions about potential work with the military.
Prosecutors repeatedly pushed back, showing other communications that made it clear Ms. Holmes was aware of the problems. They also hammered the point that no discussions between Theranos and the military resulted in the kinds of contracts that Ms. Holmes had claimed. She told investors Theranos had deployed its blood-testing machines on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
“Nothing ever came from that talk, right?” Robert Leach, an assistant U.S. attorney, asked repeatedly. “It was just talk?”
But all of that was overshadowed by Ms. Holmes’s bombshell testimony about Ramesh Balwani, her former boyfriend and a former Theranos executive. Through tears, Ms. Holmes accused Mr. Balwani, who is roughly 20 years older than her, of emotional and physical abuse. Mr. Balwani controlled her, she said, and that affected her leadership. She cried on the stand again when Mr. Leach asked her to read affectionate text messages between herself and Mr. Balwani.
Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani were charged together in 2018. Both have pleaded not guilty. Mr. Balwani, who has denied allegations of abuse, will be tried next year.