Sunday, November 28, 2021

Theranos defense calls James Mattis to the stand

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Defense attorneys for Theranos — the blood-testing technology company that abruptly shuttered its labs across the country last fall — called former Defense Secretary James Mattis to the stand Friday.

Mr. Mattis, who was a Theranos board member before joining the Trump administration, declined to comment on his relationships with the company’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes, and its chief executive, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Theranos has said it received a $31 million infusion of capital from Mr. Mattis, whose support is seen as integral to the company’s survival.

Mr. Mattis was questioned by lead defense attorney Gregory Craig over a series of press interviews he gave to the Wall Street Journal about Theranos. He said in one interview that he did not think Theranos had a “business plan,” according to a transcript of the hearing.

“I didn’t know what to believe,” Mr. Mattis said.

“You didn’t understand what you were doing at this stage?” Mr. Craig asked.

“Not at this stage,” Mr. Mattis replied.

Defense attorneys also characterized the company’s collapse as an “embarrassment” to Mr. Mattis and President Trump.

Defense attorneys have wrapped up their argument after Mr. Mattis’ testimony. The testimony from Mr. Matteson is considered critical in the hearing’s conclusions.

Testimony continues.

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