“That choice was not only callous, it was criminal,” Mr. Schenk said.
Ms. Holmes’s lawyers countered with a range of responses: She had been told by her colleagues that the technology worked, she hid information to protect trade secrets, she was being controlled by her much-older boyfriend, who was also her business partner, and the broader narrative was more complicated than the prosecution made it seem.
“The government is showing an event that looks bad, but at the end of the day, when all the evidence flows together, it isn’t so bad,” said Mr. Downey. He showed slides illustrating the steep burden of the government to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that Ms. Holmes had knowingly lied to get money.
Ms. Holmes’s defense primarily relied on her own testimony, which lasted seven days and upended the narrative of the case. It was the first time that Ms. Holmes had told her version of the events leading to Theranos’s collapse, which has been widely documented in podcasts, books, documentaries and news reports.
On the stand, Ms. Holmes painted herself as a hardworking and ambitious entrepreneur who believed in her company’s technology and potential. Any exaggerations or misleading statements were merely her projecting grand plans for the future, she implied.
She further said Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her longtime boyfriend and business partner, had berated her and controlled every aspect of her life. She also accused him of sexual abuse, which he has denied. Their relationship had been kept a secret at the time.
But in court, every aspect of the relationship — text messages, emails, conversations, infidelities and the limited liability company through which they owned a home — were picked apart. Prosecutors dug in to try to show the pair conspired to commit fraud. Ms. Holmes’s lawyers tried to show she was a victim.
It is rare for defendants in white-collar criminal trials to take the stand, and it is even rarer for them to introduce testimony of abuse. Ms. Holmes’s lawyers were expected to call an expert witness to tie her claims of intimate partner abuse to the alleged fraud, but they did not.