Elizabeth Holmes’s defense questions ex-Theranos lab director’s credibility
SAN JOSE, CALIF – In the first dramatic showdown at the Elizabeth Holmes’ trial, defense attorney Lance Wade aggressively questioned the company’s former lab director about his credibility.
Lance Wade asked the defense attorney, “Did your lab test results prove inaccurate?” Wade asked Adam Rosendorff in the courtroom Thursday.
Rosendorff responded, “No. I told the laboratory to stop testing.”
You were not told by Holmes that you had to report an inaccuracy of result. Wade asked Rosendorff to confirm his answer.
Wade raised his voice and repeatedly asked Rosendorff if his testimony had been scripted by federal prosecutors or agents in the numerous meetings they had.
Rosendorff served as a Theranos worker from 2013 to 2014. According to Rosendorff, he originally believed that Theranos would one day become the “next Apple.” Rosendorff claimed that he first applied for work at the company after studying a biography on Apple’s founder Steve Jobs.
Rosendorff explained that Steve Jobs’ excitement was “very compelling” to him. “I wanted to have a greater global impact in healthcare, and I believed that joining a diagnostics firm would allow me to do so.
Wade brought Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs to him, and Rosendorff said that he had read it. Wade asked Wade about his surprise at Theranos intense secrecy, public relations and secretive nature.
Wade asked him why he was surprised by Theranos’ intense secrecy and public relations. Wade asked. Rosendorff stated that Apple understood people’s everyday needs, and tailored its technology accordingly.
Wade also asked Rosendorff if he recalled “from the book the intense secrecy that Mr. Jobs imposed on R&D projects” at Apple, such as reviewing new technology in a password protected room.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila said, “This isn’t the right time for a report.”
The intense cross-examination was prompted by newly released documents, which reveal notes taken by federal agents interviewing two Theranos insiders. They discussed Holmes’ relationship to Ramesh Balwani (her top executive) and her romantic partner.
Nicole Canas (a Theranos receptionist and administrator) told investigators in 2011 that Holmes was “a team.” Theranos was all about Holmes and Balwani.
Interview notes stated that Holmes and Balwani interacted as equals. Canas was unable to recall Holmes and Balwani contradicting themselves.
Holmes may argue that Balwani controlled her. This could be part of Holmes’ defence. Holmes could testify in secret documents that Balwani controlled and manipulated her. Balwani refutes the claims.
Paige Williams was Holmes’ former personal assistant from 2015-2018 and her interview notes reveal similar perspectives on their relationship.
According to interviews, Williams said that she did not witness any shouting between Holmes and Balwani. According to the interview, Williams did not observe any cruelty, verbal or physically, between Balwani, Holmes, and Williams. Balwani was very open to Holmes’ admiration.
Federal agents stated that Williams did not view arguments in the home. Williams described his residence as “much less relaxed” than the office. The interview notes said that Holmes and Balwani wanted to “create a relaxed and zen feeling in their house…”
Williams recalled Valentine’s Day in 2014 when both Holmes and Balwani asked Williams to purchase and surprise the other with flowers at the home they shared. The notes stated that Holmes requested Williams buy a Hermes Apple watch for Balwani. Federal agents were told by Williams that Balwani often bought Holmes flowers to celebrate anniversaries or birthdays.
Holmes and Balwani will be charged with criminal wire fraud, conspiracy and more. Theranos was their blood-testing startup. In 2018, it collapsed after a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed inaccuracies in the tests and questionable business practices.
Williams stated that Holmes was a chartered pilot when she first started working at Theranos. After the Wall Street Journal article was published, however, Williams stated that commercial airplanes were now in use.
Rosendorff’s cross examination continues Wednesday.