“Elizabeth Holmes, not Sunny, founded Theranos and built Theranos.”
So spoke defense counsel Steve Cazares in his opening statement in the trial of Theranos co-founder Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, which resumed earlier this week. Pointing the finger at the other partner is just what Elizabeth Holmes’ legal team did in blaming Balwani for the misdoings of Theranos. Whether the strategy works this time around remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the prosecution faces the burden of proving that Balwani and Holmes were partners in crime. The first witness they called, former Theranos employee turned whistleblower Erika Cheung, described how she and her co-workers deliberately misled regulators about the accuracy of the company’s so-called Edison blood testing machines. We often answered to Balwani, Cheung testified.
With a failure rate of 51 percent for some blood tests, the odds of the Edison machine delivering accurate results for patients was like “flipping a coin,” testified former Theranos lab director Mark Pandori. Prosecutors argue that both Balwani and Holmes were aware of the technology’s accuracy problems but pushed for Edison testing to continue because Theranos needed the money.
Get more insight on the trial in the April 2022 issue of Lab Compliance Advisor