Regular readers of this column might recall a piece I wrote three years ago titled “The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos”, chronicling the collapse of the controversial blood-testing start-up that went from a healthcare hero worth US$9.6 billion to zero after it was found to be an elaborate fraud. In the eye of the storm were the blonde, baritone-voiced founder Holmes, who dropped out from Stanford University at 19 to launch the most audacious biotech start-up in history, as well as her then lover, mentor and deputy, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

Three years after Theranos Inc began wounding down its operations, Holmes, now 37, is finally having her day in court. On Aug 31, jury selection began in San Jose federal court where Holmes, who at the height was personally worth nearly US$5 billion, faces 10 charges of wire fraud and two of conspiracy. The prosecution alleges that she deliberately misled investors and patients about the capabilities and accuracy of Theranos’ blood-testing devices. (Balwani, who has since split up with Holmes, will be tried separately in January.)

Also in the courthouse will be Holmes’ one-month-old baby boy. The one-time Silicon Valley “golden girl”, who was briefly America’s youngest self-made female billionaire during the pandemic last year, secretly married 27-year-old mega millionaire William “Billy” Evans, heir to San Diego Evans Hotel Group empire, and had a baby while awaiting the trial. Indeed, the trial had to be postponed for several weeks in view of her advanced pregnancy. If you read American tabloid press on the Internet, you might find references to Holmes’ “quickie” marriage being her latest scam, and the birth of a baby just as the trial was about to begin, dubbed as a “conniving” public relations move to soften her image.

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