Elizabeth Holmes had “nothing to hide” in the wake of a damning probe into her blood-testing company Theranos, she wrote in personal notes about the investigation that ultimately sparked its demise and her downfall.
Holmes’ note to herself came about two weeks after The Wall Street Journal ran the first article in an investigative series that alleged Theranos had been overstating its technology and was in fact a fraud, according to CNBC, which obtained a trove of the diary-like notes that Holmes typed to herself in 2015.
The Journal’s series of articles eventually sparked criminal and financial investigations into Holmes — whose trial began earlier this month — her company and her then-boyfriend and COO of Theranos Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.
Both Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud. They will be tried separately, with Balwani’s trial set to start next year.
Holmes could be sent to jail for 20 years if found guilty.
But in the weeks following the Oct. 2015 publication of the Journal’s initial investigation into Theranos, Holmes reportedly wrote to herself, “Point by point refutation statements”
“Fearless transparent nothing to hide”
Later that same evening, according to CNBC, Holmes noted, “Board statement – independent look at accusations by board – making statements – no independent opinion. Unwise board – enter – without judgement -”
Another line read, “Strategic mistake – WSJ – impression – fight – number accusations – made”
“Weak accusations – endorses everything – happened – if – true – raise doubt – want – board looks into it – finds nothing to any of it – looked into it – have not looked at it independently,” she later added, according to the report.
“Haven’t addressed – doesn’t shake my confidence – my business judgement – no reason – this announcement – know a month from now – business judgement correct at the time. Never for sure,” the same note reportedly reads.
“Put out statement. Faith – Elizabeth, co.”
Taken together, the notes offer some insight into Holmes’ mindset as she dug in and defended herself and her company against mounting fraud allegations.
In her trial so far, though, her lawyers have not struck the same tone.
Rather than defending against fraud at Theranos, Holmes’ lawyers have largely sought to paint a picture of Holmes as a CEO who was clueless about the technological details of her company and therefore not knowingly committing fraud.
Her lawyers have instead pointed the finger at Balwani, alleging that he was the mastermind behind the fraud and that Holmes herself is innocent.
Prosecutors have in turn have sought to show that Holmes and Balwani worked hand in hand, and that Holmes bilked investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars while lying about the capabilities of the company’s technology.
Other notes that Holmes wrote to herself in 2015 show some of Holmes’ thinking before the Journal published their investigation.
In one note, after a conversation Holmes had just had with Theranos legal counsel David Boies, Holmes wrote simply, “becoming Steve Jobs” in an apparent reference to the biography “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader” by Brent Schlender, which had published the prior month.
Holmes — a notable Jobs wannabe who regularly mimicked his signature black turtleneck look — even kept a framed photo of Jobs in her office, a former employee told CNBC.
Holmes often publicly described Jobs as her idol.
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