The big news of Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos fraud trial today is not entirely big news yet, just another delay, but the flip side of the jury being deadlocked on three counts means they will likely render a verdict on the other eight.
Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos trial-watchers had expected a verdict by Christmas, which did not happen. Same deal for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but again no verdict. This led to speculation that Holmes was going to get off, because supposedly the longer the jury deliberated, the better the chance they would dismiss the charges against Holmes.
But that theory may no longer be operable, as CNN reports that the jury has been deadlocked on three of the eleven charges, which also means they have come to a decision on the other eight charges, so this trial will end in some manner of closure. Jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked on the final three charges.
The news came Monday morning when jurors sent a note to presiding Judge Edward Davila, after deliberating for seven days in the fraud trial over her failed blood-testing startup. According to ABC News, the jury said they "are unable to come to a unanimous verdict on three of the counts." That does not specify which counts, as Holmes is on trial for nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Yet Judge Davila did not accept this, and ordered them back to deliberations, citing something called the Allen charge. “What I have just said is not meant to rush you or pressure you into agreeing on a verdict,” Davila told the jury. “Take as much time as you need to discuss things. There is no hurry.”
And legal analysts think that may be bad news for Holmes, as NBC News’ legal analyst Danny Cevallos says the Allen charge is “dreaded” by defense attorneys. “Defense attorneys don’t like it because we assume that the minority are holdouts for acquittal. It pressures them to give up and go along with the guilty folks,” Cevallos told the network.
It remains possible that the jury will continue to be deadlocked on these three charges, even after further deliberation, and that would mean a mistrial on those three charges. But they do seem to have reached a clear verdict on the other eight, and the government could retry the three deadlocked charges in second trial.
Holmes pleaded not guilty to all counts, but if found guilty, faces up to 20 years in prison plus fines of $250,000 and restitution payments for each count of wire fraud conspiracy count.
Update 3:30 p.m.: Judge Davila, possibly after further communication from jurors, brought the jurors back into the court Monday afternoon to poll them on the three remaining counts, as ABC 7 reports.
The New York Times reports that Judge Davila instructed the jurors to fill out verdict forms for the eight counts they do agree on. This may mean that we will have some kind of verdict today.
Update 4:30 p.m.: She's found guilty on four counts, not guilty on four. More here.
Image: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 17: (L-R) Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes goes through a security checkpoint as she arrives at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building on December 17, 2021 in San Jose, California. Lawyers are making closing arguments in the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial. Holmes is facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly engaging in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud investors with the Theranos blood testing lab services. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)