James Mattis, former defense chief, testifies at Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial


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The US government alleges that Holmes deceived sophisticated investors, patients and customers about his startup Theranos

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San Jose, California – former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified in the trial of fallen tech star Elizabeth Holmes on Wednesday, saying the entrepreneur misled him into believing he was on the verge of launching a blood-test breakthrough he hoped It will help in saving the lives of soldiers in war.

Matisse appeared during the sixth day a high-profile test in San Jose, California. The US government alleges that Holmes deceived sophisticated investors, patients and customers into believing that his startup Theranos had developed a technology that could scan for a range of potential health problems with a few drops of blood. Is. Existing tests typically require one vial of blood each.


During more than three hours of maskless testimony given behind plexiglass, Mattis recalled how impressed he was when he first met Holmes in 2011 while serving a four-star general in the Marine Corps, where he oversaw the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Elizabeth Holmes trial: Jurors hear first patient testimony about Theranos blood test

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A few months after retiring from the military in 2013, Mattis joined Theranos board and also invested some of his savings in the startup. In 2017, Mattis joined President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

Mattis, nicknamed “Mad Dog”, while he was in the military, testified that Holmes initially struck him as a “fast, articulate, committed” CEO, which drew his interest when describing a compact blood-testing machine called the Edison. Drew, which Theranos was developing.

Holmes assured them that Edison would be able to scan for health problems with just the prick of a finger – a concept which Mattis testified he found “too enticing” for its potential applications in the field of warfare.

“I’m a firm believer in what you’ve designed/build and hope we can get it into theaters soon,” Mattis wrote in a March 2013 email shortly before retiring from the military. In other emails, Matisse affectionately addressed Holmes as “young Elizabeth”.

“I have a strong belief in what you designed/build and hope we can get it to test in theaters soon.”

–James Mattis, in 2013 email

Mattis, a lawyer for Holmes, at cross-examination showed a July 2013 email from the retired general that suggested he had muted expectations for Theranos’ influence on the military. “The US military may be a customer, but not immediately or largely,” Mattis wrote, seeking approval to join the Theranos board.

In another email submitted by public prosecutors during Mattis’ testimony, Holmes encouraged his belief in what Theranos could do for the military. “This initiative is just a small way to be able to serve and we will do whatever it takes to make it a success,” Holmes assured him in his email.

As Mattis testified, Holmes looked at her carefully without showing much emotion. Holmes maintained her innocence, arguing that she had put her life into an invention that she sincerely believed would revolutionize medicine, yet failed in her pursuit.

Holmes, 37, persuaded Mattis, 71, to join Theranos’ board of directors later in 2013, even though he had no medical background. Mattis testified that Holmes wanted him to help teach her about leadership and team building.

In addition to joining the board, Mattis said he has also decided to invest $85,000 of his savings so that he has “the skin in the game.” Theranos paid him $150,000 a year as a board member, according to evidence presented by Holmes’ lawyers, although Mattis testified that he told Holmes he would do it for free because “I believe what you do.” are doing.”

By the time he left Theranos in late 2016, Mattis testified that he had lost faith in Holmes. Their disillusionment began a year earlier after a series of Explosive article published in Wall Street Journal exposed troubling flaws and inaccuracies in Theranos’ blood-testing technology. Those revelations started Theranos’ downfall and culminated in a criminal case against Holmes, which could send him up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

“There got to be a point where I didn’t know what else to believe about Theranos,” Mattis said, “though he couldn’t pinpoint an exact date when he lost faith in Holmes.”

“There got to be a point where I didn’t know what else to believe about Theranos.”

– James Mattis, former US Secretary of Defense

Mattis isn’t the only famous board member or investor who became fascinated by Holmes and Theranos.

Other board members of Theranos included other former cabinet members such as the late George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and former Wells Fargo Bank CEO Richard Kovacevich. The list of billionaire investors, who once valued the privately held company at $9 billion — with half the stock owned by Holmes — included media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Walmart’s Walton family and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

Some of them are expected to testify during the trial that runs till December 17.

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