After a four-month trial, and seven days of jury deliberations, Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy Monday. Prosecutors were partially successful in their bid to prove that the former Theranos CEO intentionally misled investors and patients about the viability of her blood testing business. The San Jose-based jury decided that she did at least bilk some investors, couldn’t decide about others, and found Holmes not guilty of defrauding patients. She still faces up to 20 years in prison. 

But while the judge’s sentencing remains to be seen, the verdict is in on the trial itself: It was the kind of courtroom spectacle you can only imagine in the 21st century. Given the numerous tellings of Holmes’ story — in book, podcast, documentary, and soon-to-be feature film form — a seat in the gallery became the hottest tickets in Silicon Valley. Tickets which Holmes’ wealthy friends hired TaskRabbits to secure.

The trial attracted fans, critics, even performance artists. The jury and judge faced mountains of online evidence printed out in massive binders, baffling moments of drama, and reporters who were apparently typing too loudly. Here are seven of its strangest aspects, starting with the kind you’d associate with a rock concert or Black Friday sale:

1. The lines!

Getting a seat to one of the biggest Silicon Valley trials ever involved a lot of waiting around in the dark, according to to harrowing and hilarious reports like those from New York Times reporter Erin Woo on what covering the Holmes trial was like. Woo woke up every day at 3 a.m. to snag a chance at a good spot, while avoiding the overflow room. Those lines diminished over time, but were back with a vengeance when Holmes herself took the stand in November.

2. The fans!

At the beginning of the trial, multiple reporters clocked a strange phenomenon: Groups of blonde women in plain black suits, apparently Elizabeth Holmes lookalikes. When asked by Law360 reporter Dorothy Atkins what the deal was with the messy buns and business ensembles, the women responded: “we’re fans.”

3. The TaskRabbits!

Other Holmes fans went to some Silicon Valley-esque lengths to attend the trial. Woo noticed she was waiting in line alongside people hired via TaskRabbit. The TaskRabbits were apparently holding spots for Holmes’ friends.



4. The noisy keyboards!

Members of the press were mostly successful in getting those courtroom seats, and that meant a lot of open laptops during the trial. According to Woo, the judge reprimanded the gallery from typing too loudly — apparently at the request of a juror who was having a hard time hearing over them.

5. The performance art!

Reporters also spotted what appeared to be vendors selling black turtlenecks, Holmes’ signature look when she was Theranos CEO. Except they weren’t actually selling the clothes, according to Woo. The whole scene was a very Bay Area-style piece of performance art. Signifying what? Nobody knows for sure.

6. The binders!

In building their case against Holmes, prosecutors referred to 20 million pages and four terabytes’ worth of video evidence. Wading through it all is reportedly part of why it took years for the government to build its case. The emails that flashed up on courtroom screens were so detailed, and their text so tiny, some reporters brought binoculars in order to view them.

Ultimately, prosecutors entered 931 exhibits into evidence, and handling it all resulted in what Verge reporter Elizabeth Lopatto termed “binder confusion.” Lopatto frequently tweeted about the lulls in court when the prosecution had to find the right binder with the right piece of evidence to show witnesses on the stand.

7. Elizabeth Holmes remixed!

Deep voice, black turtleneck, singular confidence: That was the Elizabeth Holmes the world saw in the story of Theranos. But the Holmes in court was someone else entirely. As Lopatto pointed out, Holmes presented herself in court surrounded by friends and family. There was nothing weirdly notable about her voice, which some claim she intentionally lowered during the Theranos years. Holmes cried on the stand, and claimed she did not have control or knowledge about the goings on at Theranos.

On a surprising last day of her testimony, Holmes said she had been in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with former Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani. All in all, the picture of Holmes the criminal defendant was entirely different from Holmes the wunderkind CEO. And that, in the end, might have been the strangest courtroom spectacle of all. 

©



You may also like