BAD BLOOD by John Carreyrou part 2

For part 1, see my previous post.

Apparently Elizabeth Holmes has a certain charisma. The book quotes several people as remarking how striking her blue eyes and unusually low her voice were. She can be charming when she wants to be, apparently. So there are many who may be inclined to take her side. Don’t be one of them. She may have Svengali-like drawing power, but so did David Koresh and Jim Jones. Don’t drink the Kool-aid.

Holmes and Balwani have been indicted on wire fraud and other charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Jose. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it is to get that office to prosecute a white collar case. Jurors have difficulty understanding such cases. Having a loss value of millions is only a starting point. You also need absolutely overwhelming proof of guilt of a federal crime before they’ll even take it to a grand jury. I’ve testified before a federal grand jury myself many times. Indictment is usually not a tough hurdle since you only need a two-thirds majority and all the evidence comes from the prosecution, but I also know that some jurors are simply hostile to the government in general or the FBI in particular. Others ask wacky, irrelevant questions and yet others simply aren’t smart or educated enough to understand the evidence or legal instructions. At trial, though, it only takes one juror to hang a jury. One thing the grand jury doesn’t rely on, though, is reporting from newspapers or magazines. Everything is verified through FBI investigations, interviews, records searches, and so forth.  So if these two were indicted, the substance of the case is there. That doesn’t mean they will be found guilty at a trial or even should be found guilty. That will depend on the trial evidence and the legal instructions from the judge. I also have great confidence in the regulatory agencies that have shut down Theranos. Those people are dedicated to public health and take their responsibilities seriously. If they found the lab procedures and equipment bad enough to shut the place down, it was a danger to public health. For all these reasons and more, I believe the book reports accurately.

I found it interesting that this case really has no political slant to it. Holmes herself was chummy with the Clintons and Obamas, and was a big supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2016, yet her board of directors was packed with conservative Republicans including George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch was the single largest investor. She was able to bamboozle leaders of both parties. Most disturbing to me personally, though, were the dirty tactics employed by David Boies, the so-called super lawyer. His intimidation tactics and harassment were very instrumental in silencing many employees or others. He should at the least be disbarred and, I hope, indicted himself. He, too, was a director with a very large equity stake in the company. They were all lusting after that billionaire title. For shame.

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