“Silicon Valley exaggeration occurs, there’s going to be natural discussion of startup companies and how they operate,” Judge Edward Davila said during a hearing yesterday in federal court in San Jose, Calif. Davila found that the defense won’t be able argue that prosecutors are unfairly singling out Holmes and Theranos’ practices, CNBC reports.
The hearing marked the first time that Holmes has appeared in person in court in 15 months.
Trial jury selection — delayed multiple times because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then Holmes’ pregnancy — is slated to start Aug. 31.
The prosecution and defense are haggling with Davila over evidence to include. Prosecutors, for example, want to present evidence about how Holmes’ desire for recognition and wealth allegedly motivated her to lie about the capabilities of Theranos’ technology to detect disease through one drop of blood. Both sides have traded blame over the loss of a company database that would have shown the level of inaccurate blood-testing results.
Holmes and Theranos were once Silicon Valley darlings, with Holmes claiming that her company was set to revolutionize blood testing with technology that could analyze tiny amounts of blood. Forbes in 2015 even recognized Holmes as America’s richest self-made woman based on Theranos’ multibillion-dollar valuation at the time.
Investigative reporting, though, soon dismantled the claims Holmes was making about Theranos’ technology, raising questions about whether she and others had misled investors. The downward spiral culminated in the 2018 shutdown of the company, with the SEC criminally charging Holmes and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani over what it described as a “massive fraud.”
Balwani’s trial is expected to follow the Holmes trial.