By Staff Writer
On Monday morning, Aron Solomon, chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital, joined anchor Ken Buffa on Cheddar’s Opening Bell to discuss the surprising decision for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to take the stand and testify on her own-behalf late last week. Watch the clip now, or read the full transcript below!
Buffa: “In a surprise turn of events, Elizabeth Holmes took the stand in her own defense on Friday and will be back to testify later today. Holmes, who started the blood testing start-up Theranos back in 2003, faces 11 counts of wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Joining us now is Aron Solomon, legal analyst, J.D. and head of strategy at Esquire Digital.
So, I have to ask, what were some of the biggest takeaways, you thought, from Friday’s testimony?”
Solomon: “Well, the first takeaway was that Elizabeth Holmes showed up. Honestly, I think this was a big surprise to many people who are legal analysts or just observers of the case. And there is a really important reason for that. There is going to be a really big duality between people’s perception, including the jurors, and the myth of Elizabeth Holmes. How she presents herself in person. It’s a big gamble for the defense to think it’s going to work out well for them.”
Buffa: “Now, what are you expecting today? Do you think she’ll admit, in any sense of the word, to any wrongdoing?”
Solomon: “Not at all. In fact, this is a really key legal issue. Was Elizabeth Holmes really defrauding everyone she met, from investors to users? Or was she a start-up founder who recently dropped out of Stanford at 19-years-old, doing her absolute best, doing everything she could do, within her power as an entrepreneur, to make her start-up in technology work? The point of her taking the stand for herself, is to show that she had this belief all along, that even if the Theranos technology wasn’t there yet, it would get there.”
Buffa: “So, my last question would be: what is it she needs to prove to the jury to get out of this thing, because it seems like they’re leaning more on the boyfriend. It seems like she, even when it came to investors, they were doing their research, they were thorough in their research. They even hired a lawyer to take a look at financials and things like that. So what is it she needs to do today to clear her name?”
Solomon: “The good thing for her is that she doesn’t need to prove anything. It’s up to the prosecution to prove what they need to prove and I think the prosecution, in the counts they set out, were really over reaching here. The best thing Elizabeth Holmes can do for herself, is again, show she was reasonable in her belief, and that even though Theranos turned out much more badly than any start-up founder would have wanted it to, that she always believed things were going to work out for her patients and investors.”
Buffa: Super quick: good idea/bad idea for her to take the stand?
Solomon: “Bad idea.”