San Jose, Khalif. Daniel Edelin, a former project manager at Theranos who was a friend of Elizabeth Holmes’ brother, testified Friday that Holmes told him to hide parts of the company’s lab in front of potential investors and other important visitors.
Edelyn, who worked at Theranos from September 2011 to December 2016, attended Duke University, where he was befriended by Christian Holmes, the younger brother of Theranos founder. He told jurors at Elizabeth Holmes’ criminal trial that during the tours at Theranos, visitors would be offered a demo room with the company’s MiniLab, its blood-testing technology.
Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president of Theranos, decide where the guests will go.
“I remember that before the tour there would be certain areas of the labs that were hidden by a partition,” said Edlin, who reported to Holmes directly. “Often [it was] The areas where the Theranos are to make sure whoever was on the tour couldn’t see them.”
Holmes’ trial began last month, and prosecutors continue to call witnesses. The Theranos founder was indicted on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy after the collapse of its $9 billion blood-testing business, beginning in 2015. Holmes has pleaded not guilty, as has Balwani, who will be tried separately.
Edlin told jurors that his job at the company was to focus on supporting relationships with business partners such as Walgreens. He said he left Theranos to attend business school, “and at that time I could no longer believe based on what I saw that the company was able to stand behind the claims it was making about its skill.”
His departure came about a year after The Wall Street Journal, in a series of articles, exposed the company’s technology flaws and business shortcomings.
“I no longer want to be in this kind of environment,” he said. Edlin added that it wasn’t until 2016 that he learned that the MiniLab was not used on patients.
Edelyn was one of many friends of Holmes’ brother from Duke who went to work for Theranos. He said they met as a group.
“We didn’t discuss a lot of details at the time, but there seems to be a lot of potential,” Edlin said.
Edlin told jurors that Holmes was in the office “really all the time from early morning to late evening” and often on weekends. He said there was a period when he met Holmes daily.
His testimony continues on Tuesday.
Lance Wade, Holmes’ defense attorney, told the judge on Friday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the prosecution’s questioning of some witnesses, including former lab directors Sunil Dhawan and Adam Rosendorf.
Wade said some of the questions prosecutors asked former lab workers suggested that Theranos employees were falsifying information or data.
“There have been questions with a couple of witnesses now that create the impression to our ear that there is some underlying fraud or data integrity issue,” Wade said. “There is no evidence for that in the case,” he added.
This line of questioning, Wade said, “clearly has very detrimental effects for our clients.”
Jeff Schenk, the assistant US attorney handling the case, said the questions to Dhawan were intended to show jurors that he was making assumptions about what was going on inside the lab.
Watch: Theranos trial Elizabeth Holmes is underway