Holmes to resume testifying in Theranos fraud trial

FILE PHOTO: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives for a hearing at a federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) - Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is expected to retake the stand on Monday to defend against charges of defrauding investors and patients about the now-defunct blood-testing startup once valued at $9 billion.

More than 50 journalists and spectators gathered on Monday outside the courthouse in San Jose, California, where Holmes is on trial.

Once touted as the Steve Jobs of biotech, Holmes, 37, is accused of making false claims about Theranos, including that its technology could run a range of diagnostic tests more quickly and accurately than conventional laboratory testing with a drop of blood from a finger prick.

She has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy, and is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Theranos' fortunes waned after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles starting in 2015 that suggested its devices were flawed and inaccurate.

Over the course of the two-month trial, jurors have heard testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, including patients and investors whom prosecutors say were deceived by Holmes.

The most serious charges of wire fraud require prosecutors to prove Holmes acted with intent to defraud.

Holmes on Friday said that her work at Theranos led her to believe in the company's technology.

Defense attorney Lance Wade told jurors during opening statements in September that Holmes had been a young, hardworking entrepreneur who underestimated the obstacles Theranos faced.

Defendants are not required to testify in criminal cases, but sometimes do so in a bid to create reasonable doubt about their guilt by punching holes in the prosecution's case.

A major risk is that prosecutors can cross examine them, in an effort to expose possible inconsistencies or lies in their testimony.

(Reporting by Jody Godoy in San Jose; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Bernadette Baum)

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