To wriggle free of fraud charges and escape a “guilty” verdict, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is seeking to build an unorthodox foundation with a lengthy jury questionnaire.
Holmes’ team hopes to use the massive (41 pages, 112 questions) survey to separate the more favorable potential jurors and those who may prove damaging.
The prosecution, to no one’s surprise, found the strategy troubling.
Holmes’ team put media coverage in the spotlight in court filings, providing examples such as daily reporting from local and national publications, a soon-be-released TV drama, a book, several documentaries and a movie.
“The coverage of this case sweeps across numerous types of media, saturating prospective jurors from all walks of life,” the filing states.
Holmes’ lawyers also underscored the negative slant frequently associated with their client, saying she “is routinely referred to in derisive and inflammatory terms.”
Subjects in the survey include investments, medical testing history, health insurance and what medications prospective jurors are taking.
As to the necessity of such a questionnaire, according to the San Jose Mercury News, Holmes’ lawyers wrote in a letter to prosecutors last week: “Questions about inability to serve, employment, language fluency, marital status, prior jury service, and many other issues that the questionnaire addresses are routine.“
The prosecution, whose jury survey runs nine pages, 51 questions, responded: “To identify just a few issues, the proposed questionnaire is far too long, deeply intrusive in unnecessary ways, argumentative, and repetitive, and it significantly exceeds what is sufficient to select a fair and impartial jury.”
Holmes’ trial, expected to begin Aug. 31, will decide whether she defrauded patients and doctors with false claims that her company could handle testing by using just a few drops of blood.
Holmes faces 20 years in prison, the Department of Justice has said.