August 31, 2021 marks the start of what will no doubt be one of the most talked about court cases in recent times. In a San Jose courtroom, 200 potential jurors shuffle in and out, 12 of which will be picked to oversee the trial of Elizabeth Holmes. They will determine her guilt for nine counts of fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The maximum sentence: 20 years. The maximum fine: 2.25 million. Half of what her net worth used to be. “The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial” is covering this criminal case in real time.
If you listened to the first season of “The Dropout,” then you know the story of Holmes and her health technology corporation, Theranos. Theranos boasted about their advanced technology that would revolutionize healthcare, claiming they could test a single drop of blood for any number of diseases, rather than take tubes and tubes of blood like is required currently. They raised hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists and private investors. And it was entirely a lie.
“The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial” continues where the first season left off in February 2019. What has happened to Holmes since her indictment? Well, it looks nothing like you’d expect. As her company was closing its doors, she went to Burning Man. She began a relationship with her now-husband, William “Billy” Evans, heir to the Evans Hotel Group. She even got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy in July of 2021. Needless to say, it’s left a bad taste in the mouth of her prosecutors, the patients she harmed, and many onlookers.
Reporter and host Rebecca Jarvis is up for the task of covering this criminal trial. She’s covered the Great Recession and the housing collapse, to the Bernie Madoff scandal and COVID-19 economic turmoil. This second season has even more guests and first hand accounts to Holmes’ lies: former employees, colleagues, and patients.
Elizabeth Holmes drops a bombshell
Jarvis starts off this first day of jury selections by introducing us to the main players. The judge, prosecution, and defense. All big names who have been involved in some of the most prominent court cases in the past decade. Though there are millions of pages of discovery, more than 200 potential witnesses, and nearly 4,000 exhibits in this trial, they have taken a backseat for the time being. Because Elizabeth Holmes has dropped a bombshell.
Over the weekend, court documents were unsealed, revealing that her defense will argue that emotional and sexual abuse from Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president and COO of Theranos, during their personal relationship impaired her mental state. Holmes is mounting a “mental disease or defect” defense, implying that she can’t be held responsible for her actions because of trauma in her relationship.
This second season of “The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial” is can’t-miss listening. You’ll hear from people like Tyler Schultz, a whistleblower who helped expose Holmes and grandson of former secretary of state/Theranos board member George Schultz, who now sleeps with a knife. You’ll hear from patients exasperated by Holmes’ public antics. Most importantly, you’ll hear what is happening inside the courtroom. This is trial reporting like you’ve never heard it before in “The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial.