California’s Covid Surge forces Theranos Elizabeth Holmes trial to be late

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former executive director of Theranos, arrives for a hearing in the U.S. District Court in the Federal Building of Robert F. Peckham in San Jose, California on Monday, November 4, 2019.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

A surge in coronavirus cases in California has resulted in a four-month delay in criminal proceedings against Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of the competitive health tech company Theranos.

In an order late Friday evening, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila set a new hearing for the case for July 13, 2021.

“The court was vigilant to keep abreast of the nation and state impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as daily life on San Francisco Bay,” the tripartite ruling reads. “Unfortunately, the court finds the impact on our lives is severe. California is in the midst of an unprecedented increase in cases and hospitalizations.”

The judge found that California had more than 1.76 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 22,160 deaths as of Friday. He also indicated that the Santa Clara County hospitals where the trial would take place are nearing maximum capacity.

Davila said these terms would “affect the jury and public confidence in a personal process that is expected to take several months”.

The move comes two weeks after the judge established a reconfigured courtroom, face mask requirements for study participants, and air filtration systems to move Holmes’ trial forward.

Prosecutors say they have ample evidence that Holmes ran a multi-million dollar program to scam investors, doctors and patients about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood testing technology.

Holmes, once hailed as the next Steve Jobs, pleaded guilty to a dozen criminal offenses – expecting 20 years in prison if convicted.

“The court recognizes that continuation of the trial will cause great inconvenience to victims who wish to spend their day in court, as well as to the defendant who wants a speedy defense against the charges,” he said.

The verdict came in the wake of Holmes’ struggle to prevent prosecutors from using their personal communications with their former lawyer, David Boies, while in Theranos.

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