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What John Carreyrou Expects at the Trial of Elizabeth Holmes

www.newyorker.com
7 min read
fairly easy
Helen Rosner interviews John Carreyrou, the author of "Bad Blood," on the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former C.E.O. of the medical-testing tech startup Theranos.
The federal trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former C.E.O. of the now defunct medical-testing tech startup Theranos, began on August 31st, three years after Holmes's indictment on numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Theranos was once valued at more than nine billion dollars. It employed upward of seven hundred people and had a board of directors stacked with the likes of Henry Kissinger and James Mattis. Then, six years ago, the company collapsed like a soufflé, following a Wall Street Journal exposé by the reporter John Carreyrou, who wrote that the company's supposedly revolutionary technology—a proprietary lab machine that could run hundreds of medical tests using mere drops of blood drawn from a finger prick—was not at all what Theranos claimed it to be.

Carreyrou's explosive reporting became the basis for a 2018 book, "Bad Blood," which tracks the rise and fall of Theranos, from Holmes's founding of the company as a nineteen-year-old Stanford dropout through her fall from grace. He is currently hosting "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter," a podcast that covers the trial and delves into some of the astonishing evidence the prosecution is likely to introduce in the coming months—the trial, now entering its third week, is expected to last until mid-December, or longer. If Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty, is convicted, she faces up to twenty years in prison, plus fines and restitution. (She and her legal team have accused Carreyrou of advocacy journalism in bringing about Theranos's collapse.) Holmes's former boyfriend Ramesh (Sunny) Balwani, who was Theranos's president and C.O.O., and has also pleaded not guilty, will be tried separately next year. I recently spoke with Carreyrou. In our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the likelihood that he'll be called as a witness, the defense's likely attempt to pin the blame on Balwani, and ​​the danger of Silicon Valley's fake-it-till-you-make-it…
Helen Rosner
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