It's been a while since I've blogged about Elizabeth Holmes and her Silicon Valley start-up, Theranos, both of which were one-time darlings of the early morning coffee TV shows. The story fascinates me because there's so much weirdness about it. In case you're unaware of the Holmes-Theranos story, Holmes founded her company to build a device that would test for an entire panoply of diseases, from one small drop of blood, and do analyses and diagnosis from that device. The trick was, she wanted that device to be no bigger than a computer printer, and put them in every home. Skeptics didn't get much time on those early morning shows, and Holmes' company, Theranos, began to get a lot of attention from the military and related defense contractors. My own personal view when I first read about the story after hearing about it from Catherine Austin Fitts, was that whatever Holmes was doing, it would have to involve optics and a healthy dose - not to coin a pun - of some cutting edge physics. Eventually, the claims and lack of their fulfillment eventually caught up with Holmes, and she was indicted for fraud.
(For those interested, here are my previous blogs about this story:
Now, as the reader can tell from a glance at the previous blogs, I'm probably one of a very few - a definite minority - that is not dismissing either Holmes' claims nor the overall general concept. I am also definitely in the category of "there's something fishy not only about her and her company but about the government going after her" category. For one thing, Toshiba came out and announced a similar technology (again, without much in the way of detailed backup of the claims) shortly after the government indicted Holmes.
Well, there's yet another twist in the story according to this article shared by T.L. (thank you!), and this is quite a twist at that:
The article, written by Alexis Keenan, starts off with a stunner:
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is asking the federal judge overseeing her criminal fraud case to suppress evidence of customer complaints, test results, and findings from a 2016 regulatory agency report related to her now-defunct diagnostics startup because the company’s database containing its own test records was destroyed.
On Wednesday, attorneys for the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur filed a motion requesting a hearing to resolve disagreement over the failed preservation of a Theranos database that contained the information concerning the company’s consumer blood tests.
“Allowing the government to use customer complaints and testing results and the findings of the CMS Report as ‘evidence of the fraud’ after the government failed to gather and preserve the Laboratory Information System database would violate Ms. Holmes’ right to present a complete defense and to receive due process,” the filing states.
While Holmes’ lawyers blame prosecutors for failing to gather and preserve the database, prosecutors blame Theranos for the destruction. (Boldface emphasis added)
So there you have it: Theranos' own internal database is missing, and Holmes' defense team is alleging the government is at fault for not preserving it, and of course, the government is alleging that Theranos itself destroyed the database.
This is a problem for the whole Theranos fraud narrative, for what remains to be explained is how so many "top level" folks could be "taken in" by Theranos, from Riley Bechtel, to George Schultz, General Mattis, and so on, all once prominent members of Theranos' board. One has difficulty imagining that no data was presented to them and that they jumped on board merely on the basis of a claim, and that no effort was made to independently verify that claim. On the other hand, we are living in an upside-down crazy world, so it's not hard to imagine at all. The problem there is that nasty little Toshiba story from 2019 which made similar claims to Holmes' Theranos.
All of this means that it could be a very interesting trial, if some of those prominent board members of Theranos are called to testify...
And the other thing that might emerge: what if Holmes' defense team is correct, and the government "failed to preserve" the Theranos database?
To put it country simple: it could get very messy...
See you on the flip side...