The jury weighing fraud charges against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has told the court it is unable to reach a unanimous verdict on three of the 11 criminal counts she faces.
Jurors in the high-profile Silicon Valley trial had been deliberating for seven days after a trial that chronicled the missteps of the now-defunct blood testing startup. Over the course of 15 weeks, federal prosecutors called 29 witnesses, outlining missteps and alleged fraud Holmes committed during her 15-year reign as CEO.
In a dramatic turn of events, US jurors returned a note to the judge on Monday morning saying they were deadlocked on three charges. In response to the note, US district judge Edward Davila gave the jury what is called an Allen charge, encouraging them to deliberate further.
But jurors returned to the court several hours later, saying they remained unable to move forward.
Davila then sent jurors back to the jury room to fill out a verdict form. It’s not yet clear whether the jury will render its remaining verdicts on Monday.
Holmes faces nine charges of fraud and two charges of conspiracy to commit fraud. It is not clear on which of those charges the jury was unable to come to an agreement.
If the jury is unable to come to a conclusion, it may under federal rules deliver a partial verdict. Such a conclusion would, however, leave Holmes open to be re-charged with the remaining three charges at a later time.
Holmes founded Theranos after dropping out of Stanford at the age of 19, promising a revolutionary technology that could run hundreds of health tests on just a drop of blood.
A charismatic character known for her blonde hair, uniform of black turtlenecks and low voice, Holmes quickly rose to fame in and outside the tech world, gracing the covers of major magazines, headlining conferences, and drawing comparisons to Apple’s Steve Jobs. As Theranos grew, the company attracted big-name investors including the former secretaries of state George Schultz and Henry Kissinger. At its height, Theranos was valued at more than $9bn.
But Theranos ultimately fell short of its ambitious pledge. Wall Street Journal reporting in 2015 revealed that the company’s in-house tests had massive inaccuracies, and that the company was performing other tests using traditional blood drawing methodology and outside labs.
During the trial, prosecutors painted a picture of Holmes as a strict, power-hungry leader willing to go to any lengths to save her company’s image, repressing internal and external dissent and manipulating the press.
Taking the stand in her own defense, Holmes argues she made decisions in good faith and did not knowingly commit fraud.