A 'Concerned' Elizabeth Holmes Trial Observer Has Secret Identity A mysterious attendee at Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial derided the case against her to reporters. Turns out, he was not whom he claimed to be, but was the father of Holmes' partner.

'Concerned Citizen' At Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes' Trial Turns Out To Be Family

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The Elizabeth Holmes trial has wrapped up its second week. Of course, she's the former CEO of Theranos, the startup that promised a miracle blood test that could screen for hundreds of diseases with a pinprick of blood. The company imploded in 2015 after investigation showed the technology just did not work as promised. NPR's Bobby Allyn has been covering the trial and joins us. Bobby, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: What happened this week?

ALLYN: Well, the prosecution outlined its case against Holmes. They said just as the startup was burning cash and up against a wall, she resorted to lying to investors. Prosecutors say she forged documents and made false claims, like that she was working with the military when she wasn't, basically in order to rescue this startup that was on the verge of bankruptcy. When the defense responded, they said, you know, Elizabeth Holmes may have ran this startup into the ground, but failing is not a crime.

We now move to the witness phase of the trial. We're hearing from former Theranos scientists, accountants and other insiders with direct knowledge of the company and who had a lot of time talking to Elizabeth Holmes.

SIMON: Bobby, based on the testimony so far, has anybody suggested this technology worked?

ALLYN: So the question boils down to, how much did it work? People who worked in the Theranos lab said, indeed, some tests did come out with accurate results. That said, Elizabeth Holmes was on the cover of Fortune magazine. She was talking to investors. She was telling anyone who would listen that her little device, this micro-analyzer called the Edison, could scan for hundreds of diseases with a pinprick of blood. And what we found out during this trial is that really what was happening is blood tests were being sent to sort of traditional blood-testing machines to get results, not her miracle device. And when results were coming out of this Edison device, they were often flawed. They were often inaccurate. The Wall Street Journal reported on this in 2015. And now we're getting more detail just about how sketchy and dubious the results of these tests really were.

SIMON: Bobby, we have to ask you about a mystery man you spent some time sitting next to in the courtroom. And he turns out to have a story. Who is he?

ALLYN: Yeah. So at the start of the trial, the courthouse was quite a scene. It was, you know, packed with TV cameras, teeming with random people. But, you know, there was one person who really stood out. He was there, the first person in line wearing a Patagonia jacket, a baseball cap. He told me his name was Hanson and that he just fixed up old cars for a living. He said he had no connection to Holmes. You know, during jury selection, I sat next to him for seven hours. And he would whisper to me about what he thought about the judge. He criticized the media coverage of Theranos. You know, every reporter in the courtroom was sort of fascinated by this guy. We were unsure why he was there. And, you know, basically, he was saying - he was just a mechanic, this average guy who had a curiosity about criminal trials.

Well, the following week, Elizabeth Holmes walks into the courtroom with her entourage. And who is accompanying her but this individual who said his name was Hanson? In fact, he is Bill Evans, the wealthy hotel magnate in San Diego, who is the father of Billy Evans, Elizabeth Holmes' partner and the father of her newborn baby boy. So just a bit of a strange, bizarre twist in the early weeks of the Elizabeth Holmes trial.

SIMON: What's coming up next in the trial, Bobby, as the weeks proceed?

ALLYN: We've got three or four months left of this trial, Scott, so a long road ahead. A major question to look out for is, will Elizabeth Holmes herself take the stand and respond to these fraud charges? Her lawyers put her on the potential witness list. So, you know, there's a strong possibility we'll be hearing directly from her. But we will just have to see.

SIMON: NPR's Bobby Allyn, thanks so much for being with us.

ALLYN: Thanks, Scott.

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