A group of 12 jurors and five alternates were sworn in Thursday for the long-delayed fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who stands accused of lying to investors and the public about the effectiveness of the defunct blood-testing startup’s technology.
The jurors are residents of Santa Clara County, California, and were selected from a pool of roughly 100 candidates, The New York Times reported. The jury consists of seven men and five women.
Holmes’ legal team, federal prosecutors, and Judge Edward Davila of the U.S. District Court probed the candidates for two days to assess their ability to stay impartial for the Holmes’ case, which has been the subject of countless news reports and documentaries. The trial begins next week and is expected to last three to four months.
The trial was delayed multiple times for various reasons, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the Theranos founder’s pregnancy. She faces several charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Holmes, 37, was once considered a rising star in the business sphere, becoming the world’s youngest female billionaire in 2015, according to Forbes. Theranos drew a $9 billion valuation while touting a breakthrough device that could perform an array of medical tests with just a few drops of a patient’s blood.
Theranos collapsed after a series of reports from The Wall Street Journal revealed its machines could not perform the functions that Holmes claimed. Holmes and former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, whom she once dated, were charged with defrauding investors and the public.
Holmes’ attorney indicated through court filings that they will argue she endured an abusive relationship with Balwani, according to reports. Balwani has denied the claims. Jurors were purportedly asked to detail their views and experiences with domestic abuse.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges.