Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes led profane chants during company meetings that poked fun at her competitors and a Wall Street Journal reporter which her attorneys have classified as ‘normal behavior’.
The disgraced founder is currently awaiting trial on fraud charges for lying about the capabilities of her blood-testing product.
She and the company’s former president, Sunny Balwani, are due to go on trial in San Jose, California in March. She is denying the charges but faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
In a pre-trial court filing on Wednesday, prosecutors said that she would often berate competitors by chanting about them during company meetings.
They want to ask witnesses about the chants, specifically one against competing company Sonora Quest.
Elizabeth Holmes pictured in July in court in San Jose, California (left). She is said to have led company chants against competitors and WSJ reporter John Carreyrou, who wrote a series of articles criticizing Holmes
‘Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani allegedly led employees in a chant of “F— you, Sonora Quest,”‘ the filing says.
Another target of the chants was John Carreyrou, a Wall Street Journal reporter who had written a series of articles criticizing Holmes.
Prosecutors claim that vilifying competitors adds to proof of the pair’s guilt.
Holmes’ attorneys are fighting it. They said it was ‘normal behavior’, and wrote in a response to the filing: ‘
‘There would be nothing remarkable about Ms. Holmes expressing frustration to her colleagues about critical news coverage of her and their company.
‘That normal human reaction to adversity and negative publicity would not be evidence of consciousness of guilt.
‘If vilifying competitors, and chanting curse words about them, were a sign of a guilty conscience, every sports team in America would be guilty of something.
Holmes claimed the Theranos technology could perform an array of complex blood tests in just minutes
‘Companies and corporate officials routinely vilify competitors to motivate employees. The conclusion the government draws from this normal (even if lamentable) behavior … is completely speculative,’ her attorneys said.
Holmes quickly made a name for herself in Silicon Valley by promising that her machines could perform an array of complicated blood tests using a sample of just a few drops of blood.
She drew in investors and won an evaluation of around $10billion before holes started to appear in her business plan.
The machines were nowhere near as capable as she claimed they were, according to prosecutors, and she knew it.
She and Balwani were charged with fraud in June 2018.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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