Elizabeth Holmes Trial Loses Another Juror With Weeks to Go
(Bloomberg) -- Yet another juror was dismissed from Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes’s criminal trial, the third person to be excused since the high-profile proceeding started six weeks ago in San Jose, California.
There was no explanation given for the woman’s departure Friday after U.S. District Judge Edward Davila conferred privately at length with the juror, prosecutors and lawyers for Holmes in his chambers.
She was replaced with a female alternate. The dismissal means that at its approximate midpoint, the trial is moving forward with 12 jurors and two alternates, down from a total of 17 originally.
Under federal rules, criminal juries can deliberate with just 11 jurors only under limited circumstances, said Andrey Spektor, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in New York. If the panel loses too many jurors, the judge’s only alternative is to declare a mistrial and start over.
“Having two alternates with at least a month left of trial is definitely not ideal from a prosecutor’s point of view,” Spektor said. “And with Covid-19 still in the air, coupled with the trial’s publicity, the government is definitely getting anxious about the jury size.”
Read More: Holmes Juror Is Off Case Over Buddhist Qualms About Prison
Earlier this month, a Buddhist juror serving on the case was excused after she told the judge she couldn’t in good conscience vote for a prison sentence. Even after Davila explained that jurors are responsible for arriving at a verdict but not a sentence, the judge concluded she couldn’t separate her religious views from her obligations.
The first juror was excused after she discovered her employer wouldn’t excuse her from work for more than three months. The jury remains comprised of eight men and four women.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.