On Friday, Holmes spent an hour on the stand, according to The New York Times, mainly discussing the early days of Theranos, a company she started with claims of revolutionizing blood testing with technology that could analyze tiny amounts of blood.
Investigative reporting eventually dismantled Holmes’ claims, raising questions about whether she and others misled investors. The downward spiral culminated in the 2018 shutdown of the company, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Holmes and COO Sunny Balwani of what it described as a “massive fraud.”
Holmes spoke on Friday of why she started the company, and, according to NYT, she presented herself as an expert on the company’s technology. That’s despite her lawyers’ efforts to highlight her lack of experience and expertise over the previous months of the trial, as they argued that she was an ambitious but naïve young founder relying on others who provided poor advice.
“She did her level best, day in, day out, to make Theranos successful, and she genuinely, deeply believed it would be successful,” Lance Wade, Holmes’s lawyers, said during opening statements, according to NYT.
NYT suggests that Holmes may attempt to shift blame to Balwani, not only a former business partner but her former romantic partner, whom Holmes and her team have alleged was abusive both emotionally and psychologically during their relationship. Balwani will stand trial next year.
Reports expect Holmes’ testimony to provide the first real insight into the relationship between her and Balwani. Holmes took the stand nearly two hours after the scheduled start, with CNN reporting that no reason was given for the delay.
Early in the testimony, Holmes’ attorney Kevin Downey asked about her “attempts” to partner Theranos with the U.S. Defense Department after the prosecution noted that Holmes had said Theranos signed contracts with the military when that wasn’t true.
Additionally, according to NYT, Downey presented “completed successes” in pharmaceutical studies, which Holmes said indicated successfully achieved objectives of certain programs. The report said scientists from companies including Celgene, Pfizer and Schering-Plough have already testified that they did not recommend Theranos’ technology. In contrast, Theranos had created a report presenting logos from Pfizer, Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline.
This story may be updated with additional information from Holmes’ testimony.