Elizabeth Holmes trial Week 9 recap: The Kissinger connection, and a former lab co-director cites a ‘lack of clarity’

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes looks ahead while wearing a blue mask as a man stands behind her
Elizabeth Holmes.
  • The ninth week of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial is now over.
  • It included testimony about investments from Henry Kissinger, the DeVos family, and Walmart's heirs.
  • Here's everything that happened in the trial in its ninth week.

Theranos investor: "There was not a lot of transparency"

Black Diamond Ventures founder and managing director Chris Lucas told the jury this week that he invested roughly $1.5 million in Theranos in 2006 and another $5.4 million in 2013, according to The New York Times. He said the first investment was risky because Theranos was still in its early stages, but "you would expect to have a higher certainty of return" in 2013.

Lucas also testified there was "not a lot of transparency" into the now-defunct startup. But he said he invested because of his good relationship with Holmes, whom he says was his primary source of information about the company.

Former lab co-director was "increasingly uncomfortable" with "lack of clarity"

Lynette Sawyer, Theranos' former lab co-director, shared responsibilities with Sunil Dhawan, who was the dermatologist of former Theranos COO and president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. Dhawan previously testified that he didn't know at the time that he shared the job with Sawyer.

Sawyer, who worked at Theranos from 2014 to 2015, testified that she was never invited to the lab, never spoke with her co-director, and never met Holmes.

"I grew increasingly uncomfortable in the way things were done," she testified, according to The Wall Street Journal. "I was very uncomfortable with the lack of clarity about the lab."

Sawyer said much of her job entailed signing documents about tests performed on commercially available analyzers; she never reviewed data from Theranos' analyzers.

The investors network connection

Daniel Mosley, an estate lawyer whose clients included former US secretary of state and Theranos board member Henry Kissinger, testified that he introduced Holmes to clients like the DeVos, Cox, and Walton families, who collectively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the now-defunct startup, according to The Wall Street Journal. Kissinger invested $3 million, and Mosley himself invested $6 million, even though he had unanswered questions and thought "it was certainly possible to lose all your money."

Trouble with another validation report

Constance Cullen, a former bioanalytical lab director at pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough, testified that she helped evaluate Theranos' technology. In a 2009 meeting with Holmes, Cullen says she was "dissatisfied" with "cagey" responses to her questions. The jury saw a report with Schering-Plough's logo that appeared to validate Theranos' technology, but Cullen said neither she nor anyone else at the pharmaceutical company deemed the report's conclusions accurate, according to The New York Times.

Her testimony echoes that of a former Pfizer scientist, Shane Weber, who recently said he never authorized Theranos' use of the Pfizer logo on a validation report, nor did he know of anyone else at Pfizer who might have done so.

Defense wins one

Judge Edward Davila dealt Holmes a small victory, granting her request to exclude testimony from a patient identified in court documents as "B.B." Only one patient has taken the stand so far in the trial.


You can catch up on Week 1 here, Week 2 here, Week 3 here, Week 4 here, Week 5 here, Week 6 here, and Week 7 here. You can read how Holmes wound up on trial here and see the list of potential witnesses here. Everything else you need to know about the case is here.

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