Buddhist juror booted from Elizabeth Holmes trial

Theranos founder faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of defrauding investors

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 06 October 2021 23:03

Juror dismissed from Elizabeth Holmes trial over religious beliefs

A Buddhist juror was dismissed from the trial of Elizabeth Holmes after she said she was worried about sending the Theranos founder to prison.

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur is on trial for allegedly defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars with claims that her company’ machines could carry out a full range of tests from a drop of blood.

But the worried juror told Judge Edward Davila in San Jose’s US District Court that as a Buddhist, she believes in love and forgiveness.

“I’m thinking of all the time she’ll be in jail,” she told the judge.

“It’s very hard for me. I’m thinking what happens if she has to be in there for a long long time and I’m out here. I’ll feel like it’s my fault.”

The judge told the juror that she was not responsible for considering punishment but was there to decide the facts in the high-profile case.

She then told him that she felt she could stay within the jury as long as she did not have to vote on if Ms Holmes was guilty or not.

The judge asked federal prosecutors and Ms Holmes’ defence team if they wanted the juror to be excused, and both sides agreed they did.

“It appears that her deeply held religious convictions are causing her some difficult issues,” said Judge Davila.

“Even though I told her punishment is something she cannot consider… it did not seem to assuage her from her feelings.”

The judge decided to excuse the juror, who will be replaced by one of the alternates who attend the trial every day.

Ms Holmes faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $2.75m if convicted, as well as possible restitution.

Ms Holmes and her co-accused, former Theranos president, Ramesh Balwani, have denied the charges.

Mr Balwani is due to be tried next year.