Elizabeth Holmes has reportedly asked a federal judge to throw out the U.S. government’s case against the former Theranos CEO who was indicted in 2018 for multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud through Theranos, which claimed to be able to conduct a medical blood test from just a single drop of blood.
Business Insider reports that lawyers for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes told a federal judge this week that the U.S. government’s prosecution against Holmes is too vague. Holmes was indicted alongside former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani in June 2018 on nine counts of wire fraud over the blood-testing company Theranos which alleged that it could accurately conduct full blood tests from just a single drop of blood.
The firm was, at one point, valued at $9 billion but collapsed in 2018 after it was questioned about how its technology actually worked. The indictment from the U.S. government alleges that Holmes and Balwani fooled patients, doctors, and investors by exaggerating the capabilities of their technology which they knew did not work as advertised.
On Monday, Holmes’ attorney Amy Saharia argued that the government indictment is “full of ambiguity and fudging language.” Saharia also took issue with claims that Theranos’ technology didn’t work pointing to two specific instances cited by the prosecution involving an HIV test and two pregnancy tests. Saharia stated: “All tests have error rates […] The government should not be permitted to try a case with anecdotes when incorrect blood tests are a fact of life.”
US government prosecutor John Bostick took issue with Saharia’s claims, stating that the defense has had ample time to clarify the meaning of the indictment, stating: “The defense has been litigating this case for 20 months now. If they truly didn’t understand the nature of the allegations they would have raised this issue earlier.”
Bostick added that Theranos’ claim that it had obtained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was simply a ploy to reassure patients of its technology’s accuracy. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila is currently reviewing the defense’s request to dismiss the case and asked both sides about the “implicit misrepresentations” Theranos allegedly made.
The trial of Holmes and Balwani is set to start in August 2020, both could face 20 years in prison if found guilty.