Former defense chief James Mattis testifies in Elizabeth Holmes federal fraud trial - Mass Device

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified on Wednesday in Elizabeth Holmes' federal fraud trial that she misled him into believing the Theranos technology could save the lives of troops in battle. After his retirement from the U.S. in 2013, Mattis joined Theranos' board of directors and invested $85,000 of his own money into the Silicon Valley startup, according to multiple media reports. To his knowledge, Mattis said the Theranos blood analyzing technology was never deployed in a clandestine operation, military helicopters or anywhere else in the military, The Verge reports. During his visit, he saw the Theranos analyzer but didn't see any of the commercially available equipment that both Erika Cheung and Surekha Gangakhedkar testified was being used for most blood tests.

"There became a point where I didn't know what to believe about Theranos anymore," Mattis testified, according to Spectrum News.

The Theranos board of directors consisted of a number of high-level executives with little connection to the medical device and biomedical industries, including former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former defense secretary William Perry and former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich. Forbes in 2015 recognized Holmes as America's richest self-made woman based on Theranos' multibillion-dollar valuation at the time. The downward spiral culminated in the 2018 shutdown of the company, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Holmes and Balwani of what it described as a "Massive fraud."

Holmes, along with former Theranos President and COO Sunny Balwani, faces 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud over allegations that she knowingly misled investors by claiming Theranos technology could revolutionize blood testing.


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