Elizabeth Holmes Trial Begins With Slow Weeding Out of Jury Pool
(Bloomberg) -- More than a dozen people were dismissed from serving on Elizabeth Holmes’s jury, as the first day of the Theranos Inc. founder’s criminal trial got underway in California.
About 50 potential jurors were questioned in the courtroom Tuesday by the judge, defense lawyers and prosecutors in a painfully slow process of weeding out people with apparent biases. Some of the people dismissed said they had significant exposure to media on Holmes, who has been the subject of multiple podcasts, documentaries and books since the collapse of the blood-testing company that made her briefly into a billionaire.
Others said they had experience of abuse, something that may play a central role in her defense, as her lawyers have told the court they are preparing to accuse Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her onetime romantic partner and the company’s former president, of dominating her while they were together.
Holmes, sitting between her lawyers, remained silent but often scanned the panel. When the subject of abuse was raised she stared straight ahead.
One man sent home is a producer at a news station. Since being summoned as a possible juror he said he’s had difficulty ignoring the subject at work, including what he described as reports about Holmes’s “defense strategy.”
“Would it break your heart if I excused you from this jury?” U.S. District Judge Edward Davila asked.
“That’s fine with me,” the producer said to laughter from the courtroom, including Holmes.
The process continues Wednesday with another group of about 50 people.
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