The DeVos family invested in the startup in 2014 through their family office RDV Corp. after their family member had their blood taken. Lisa Peterson, general manager of RDV, who helped verify the deal, testified about the investment – and because of a dispute between a juror and a plumbing issue, she was also the only witness presented this week.
Holmes, once considered the next Steve Jobs, faces a dozen federal allegations of fraud allegations that she knowingly misled investors, doctors and patients about her company’s ability to test blood to take their money. Holmes has pleaded guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Holmes targeted wealthy families
Peterson testified that she asked to participate in the Theranos deal after hearing about the company for the first time from RDV CEO Jerry Tubergen, who met with Holmes and her brother at the conference. Tubergen’s enthusiasm for Holmes was evident in an email sent to members of the DeVos family. “I had one of the most interesting meetings I remember with women this morning [sic] profiled in an attached Fortune magazine article, ”Tubergen wrote in an e-mail displayed in court.
Peterson, Tubergen and three DeVos family members flew to Theranos headquarters in October 2014 before investing $ 100 million, double the amount they originally expected. Peterson said Cheri DeVos took her blood with a finger.
Jurors get a closer look at Elizabeth Holmes
Although it is still unclear whether jurors will hear from Holmes only when the defense is in line to introduce witnesses, they will take a closer look at how she, in her own words, presented herself and society.
Last week, the jury heard audio recordings of Holmes from an investor call – the first time they had heard her infamous voice. This week, they saw television interviews Holmes gave after the Wall Street Journal’s initial investigation into Theranos.
A long-delayed trial can’t catch a break …
The pandemic and Holmes’ pregnancy caused several delays in the trial. There was another unexpected delay this week: a pipe burst near a federal court in San Jose, leaving the building without water. The court was ordered to leave the building.
The incident happened when Judge Edward Davila set additional trial days to move things forward as the trial – initially scheduled to last three to four months – was approaching its third month. When asked of jurors concerns about supplementing the schedule, one of the alternate jurors said he would try to accommodate if the only one had problems, but warned that “it’s getting harder with my work schedule.”
… and also the journalists covering the trial
The Holmes trial was hit by another threatening drama: tension over loud typing.
Judge Davila, on behalf of one or more members of the jury, has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with loud keystrokes emanating from a small but powerful group of journalists appearing day after day with their laptops. Typing is clearly becoming more noticeable when journalists document the same juicy pieces together. The judge again reminded reporters on Tuesday that only “silent keyboards” are allowed in the room. The judge said that if he received another complaint, he would have to send “anyone who wants to type” to the overflow room. He explained that it is not fair to the government or Holmes if the jury cannot focus.
This is another hurdle for journalists covering high-profile trials, as cameras and recording devices are not allowed. And while the judge asked reporters to be the police officers themselves, the U.S. marshal stood at various points in the corner of the courtroom all day to track down a noisy keyboard or tentacles.