The lawyers of Elizabeth Holmes, ex-CEO of disgraced blood test startup Theranos, have 112 questions for future jurors in the Holmes fraud case – including how often they check social media and whether they have a subscription to Netflix.
As The Wall Street Journal reportedHolmes’s attorneys have just submitted a proposed jury questionnaire for her upcoming fraud trial. The extreme detailed 45 page document outlines all the possible ways Holmes fears a jury might be biased, and some of that apparently involves measuring exactly how online each judge is. Jury members are asked, among other things:
- “Do you have an account on a social media platform? If so, identify the platform (s). “
- “How often do you use the above platform (s)?” (Answers range from ‘several times a day’ to ‘almost never’.)
- “How do you use social media? (eg communicating with friends; expressing opinions; following current events; etc.) “
- “Do you belong to a social media group (eg Facebook or WhatsApp groups)?”
- Have you ever posted or blogged messages, comments or opinions on websites / social media? If so, describe the websites or social media platforms you have used; the kinds of things you posted or blogged; and how many times you’ve done it. “
The questionnaire underscores the sheer breadth of media coverage surrounding Theranos, with numerous questions that gauge how (and how many) jurors interact with the media. On the more general side that includes:
- “Have you ever written a letter to the editor or attended a radio show?”
- “How much in the news media do you think is fair and accurate?”
Next, potential judges are asked if potential judges read, watch, or listen to any of the 46 SMS news broadcasts, 15 individual media figures, and 19 video or audio outputs – mostly news channels, but also Hulu, Netflix, and HBO. (The edge is not mentioned on the questionnaire, although other Vox Media outlets Vox and New York Magazine That’s in addition to questions about whether the judges consumed media on Holmes and Theranos.
By contrast, US prosecutors have – who have filed their own prosecutors Proposal with 51 questions yesterday – asked participants to list their “top news sources” and whether they are following specific “financial news”.
Prosecutors called Holmes’s form “far too long, deeply intrusive in unnecessary ways, argumentative and repetitive” in a lawsuit. In addition to the social media questions, the form asks jurors to specify things such as whether family members or close acquaintances have experience with 26 different professional fields and government agencies. But Holmes’s attorneys claimed that “the entrepreneur was routinely referred to in derisive and inflammatory terms,” which made the questions pertinent.
That is not an unfair description of Holmes’ image in the media, although he is getting rich a medical device that does not work is demonstrably worth mocking. It’s also a bit ironic, because newscasts ever criticized for hyping Theranos without adequate fact-checking. However, as Holmes ‘notes makes, Theranos’ fall is now chronicled in a well-known book (Bad blood by John Carreyrou), documentary (HBO’s The inventor), and multiple podcasts (Tyler Shultz’s Thicker than water and Rebecca Jarvis’ The outage), parent upcoming Hulu miniseries starring Amanda Seyfried.
Holmes was charged with fraud in 2018 along with former Theranos president and COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Her trial is scheduled to begin in August.