With Lawyers Gone, Holmes Phones In to Arizona Court

Elizabeth Holmes' attorneys in civil case quit over nonpayment
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2020 9:15 AM CST
Due in Two Courtrooms, ex-CEO of Theranos Calls In to One
Elizabeth Holmes couldn't make it in person to a court hearing in Arizona last week.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Elizabeth Holmes is stretched thin in a couple of ways right now. The criminal case against the former head of Theranos is being heard in San Jose. A civil case—a fraud lawsuit—is proceeding in Arizona. Her lawyers handling the fraud suit have quit because they weren't being paid. So when a hearing was held Thursday in that case, Holmes was dialed in, Bloomberg reports. Unable to be in two courtrooms at once, the defendant decided to phone in to the less critical one, an expert said, and there's a logic to that. "If there's only so much money to go around, staying out of prison is always priority number one, period," he said. "Lawsuits seek only money, not imprisonment."

It's unusual to have a defendant on Line 1, and of course, it's unusual to not have anyone representing one side in the courtroom. Holmes told the judge she wouldn't make any arguments over the phone. Lacking legal advice of her own, Holmes said she's leaning on the arguments being made by the lawyers for her co-defendants. The hearing ended without any decision; the judge was considering whether the suit should be taken up as a class action on behalf of thousands of Walgreens and Theranos customers. In that case, customers say the company and drugstore chain took blood samples when Theranos' tech was still being developed, leading to unnecessary treatments.The trial does not have a start date yet, per Fox Business. In the criminal case, prosecutors argue that Holmes knew her company’s blood tests were unreliable, and misrepresented the capabilities of the company’s technology. (Read more Elizabeth Holmes stories.)

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