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'Concerned Citizen'at Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Trial Turns Out to Be Family (npr.org)
105 points by randycupertino 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 54 comments

I'm not sure if there is much of a point to this story. A guy shows up at the trial and tells all kinds of lies to reporters about who he is and why he's there. That doesn't seem to have much relevance to or impact on the trial itself.

On the other hand, it's mildly amusing that there's more lying being added to the Theranos story.

A defendant's father in law who happens to be a hotel magnate lying to a bunch of reporters at her trial trying to sway coverage is most definitely newsworthy. It doesn't need to have an impact on the trial to be newsworthy.

not just lying to reporters, but lying under a fake identity and then trying to deny it halfway through. Why would he use a fake identity and then try to cover it up, if he was doing nothing wrong and just going about his business as usual?

> lying under a fake identity and then trying to deny it halfway through. Why would he use a fake identity and then try to cover it up,

The whole debacle is just bonkers. I agree the story might be mere "human interest" but imo it certainly is interesting! His behavior fits with the whole gestalt of fraud, entitlement and deception.

Journalists mislead and lie as a matter of course during investigations and in their stories.

This guy needn't have been doing anything "wrong" to want to mislead them or lie to them.

It might have been hamfisted, but I admire the chutzpah. Definitely an amusing news story, it's like something out of a Seinfeld episode.

He was lying to reporters. Not to police or a judge.

You are under no obligation to not lie to a reporter.

In fact, it used to be, that a reporter's job was to get to the truth, and that skill used to be admired and celebrated.

Now it seems they're so flabbergasted when someone lies to one they decide to publish a story about it.

The story of Elizabeth Holmes is obviously more than just whether she will be found guilty or innocent. The story involves the web of connections that allowed her to achieve the dubious things she achieved and wealthy supporters are clearly relevant to that.

Of course, the existence of some powerful supporters conceivably could have an impact on her trial too, even if the simple that his guy showing up by itself probably won't.

It’s news when we onlookers are weighing up the defendant’s argument that they weren’t trying to do fraud but were instead caught up in an abusive relationship by her boyfriend at the time who was the real fraudster. Having the father of your current boyfriend do more fraud schenanigans on your behalf undermines that defense for me.

If my daughter in law and mother of my grandchild was on trial that could lead to prison I wouldn’t be above doing things that were legal but unethical to try to tilt the scales to prevent my grandchild from losing their mother.

I wouldn't even defend my own daughter, let alone my daughter in law if it turned out she sold fraudulent tests to cancer patients.[1]. I would never defend anyone, family or otherwise if they threaten the health of seriously ill patients. Do you see how morally deprived that is?

Mate I'm not even sure she had that kid for any other reason than to tilt the trial in her favor, and elicit exactly this response


The point isn't that he's defending her, he's defending his grandkid. Morality is tricky when it comes to your obligation towards protecting innocent family members. Specifically if there are legal actions you can take to potentially influence the trial, which is the authority, towards more lenient sentencing to protect your grandchildren.

I agree. There was speculation a long time ago that she would use a pregnancy for sympathy. The woman is a sociopath. I doubt she cares about the child as anything other than a tool to get out of trouble.

She seems like enough of a fraud to have concocted this strange angle. In any old case, I would probably attribute this to an insignificant occurrence. In a case involving deception, I am highly suspicious.

I was struck by something else.

Who describes someone's family as their "entourage"?

Does your family travel with you everywhere you go for work, play, any appearance? Was Johnny Drama part of Vince's entourage? It would be easy to consider someone's relative as part of the entourage while other relatives just a relative.

Sorry, my point was apparently unclear.

I don't know who was in the group. Maybe the writer does, or maybe they don't. Maybe it was just her family, maybe it wasn't.

However, the entourage is described as being her family members immediately prior.

Speculating about the facts doesn't improve the writing (or the editing if that's at fault). It is what it is presented as, unless you were there or something.

Someone who doesn't know the precise identities of everyone in the group following her around, or someone describing a diverse group of associates.

This is completely normal langauge.

There may have been non-family members also in that group but not in the photo.

Sure. Lots of things are possible.

But what was written was that the group was her family members and then it was called an "entourage". Which is odd as it stands.

It could well be sloppy writing or an editing mishap. However, it felt to me like it might signify an awkward attempt to dehumanize her and her family, since that was the overall theme of the article.

NPR has made a niche for itself using 'human angles' to the story. They're not hard-hitting, they're not politically unbiased, they just make the soft sell for the Reader's Digest crowd.

It's good business. They've found an audience, they intend to keep it.

"It's too ironic," said Griffith of the Times. "That Elizabeth Holmes is on trial for fraud and the media has this whole two days of interaction with someone who was misrepresenting themselves from her extended family."

Just a shady group.

Despite Bobby Allyn's insistence on saying he lied; he isn't reporting any evidence of it. Misleading, maybe, though one has to follow to be led. Evasive, absolutely. That's not lying.

Alright, maybe his statement that he fixed old cars "for a living" could fade into being called a lie, or at least stated with intent to mislead.

It really feels like, some third-rate reporter got angry about being hoodwinked, and decided to get back at him by writing a puffy hit-piece. Really ugly look for NPR; this isn't news or even noteworthy.

So you're saying this guy "hoodwinked" the reporter but didn't lie?

Maybe this guy only misdirected. What going on is significant. In fact, that changes nothing.

The story is that wealthy and powerful person showed up at the Holmes trial and made an effort to misdirect reporters. Whether he made overt factual untruths is irrelevant unless you the logic of a third grader.

It’s noteworthy because it’s bizarre behavior and he’s related to her. The question is how noteworthy.

I tend to doubt there’s any sinister plot afoot here, or that it’ll have any impact on the trial. He probably wanted to attend the trial, knows she’s toxic, and was worried that any association with her might affect his businesses. But yeah, I think her father-in-law appearing at the trial in a flimsy disguise and giving ham-fistedly evasive responses is definitely worth a mention, even if it’s not legally actionable or related to the trial itself.

"It’s noteworthy because it’s bizarre behavior and he’s related to her."

It's not noteworthy because it's bizarre behavior. It is specifically relevant behavior. This entire case is only about determining if she is guilty of engaging in exactly this behavior.

We should all thank the guy for providing such a great example of why not to believe any story her and her lawyers cook up.

Isn’t telling someone your name is Hanson when it’s not lying?

>and tells all kinds of lies to reporters about who he is and why he's there

And also asking reporters' takes on Elizabeth Holmes, and then trying to "correct" them by saying that everyone just copypastes the initial story, and no one has told the real truth behind Theranos (implying that Elizabeth is innocent and gets blamed unfairly).

Keep in mind, those weren't random reporters, those were reporters who were lining up to be juries on the trial. I think it is pretty newsworthy that one of the accused parties' family members decided to mislead potential juries under a fake identity outside of the courthouse.

I don't think the reporters were going to be jurors. I read the article again and it doesn't say that, as far as I can tell.

Apologies, I've re-read it again, and it seems like I completely misinterpreted the line where it said "Over the course of two days of jury selection, he gabbed with reporters standing in line to get in the courthouse".

Now that I am re-reading it, it definitely seems like I've made a bad assumption there.

Are you sure they weren't there reporting on the jury selection? A bunch of reporters lining up to be juries on the trial while writing articles on it? That doesn't make any sense.

My guess is that it is because Theranos came out of Stanford, was a Silicon Valley darling for a bit. I know that PG had said "people like Elizabeth Holmes are actually rarer there than in the rest of the business world, or in politics." which I would agree with but SV does give such people a leverage factor that they can't get in the rest of world. I'm fairly certain Elizabeth Holmes couldn't have achieved the level of bizarre impact she had anywhere else but Palo Alto. I also have a genuine fear that her Svengali defense is going to succeed and that will harm all women entrepreneurs in a deep and consequential way.

Theranos was not a Silicon Valley darling. I don't think there were any big SV venture funds involved. It was people like Ruport Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, and James Mattis investing and sitting on the board.

> Theranos was not a Silicon Valley darling

Please allow to present some exhibits.


"Theranos, the blood-testing startup that went from Silicon Valley darling to facing fraud charges"

https://www.cnbctv18.com/business/from-silicon-valley-darlin... "From Silicon Valley darling to fraud accused"

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/aug/28/elizabeth... " the Silicon Valley darling said could perform a variety of medical tests with just a drop of blood"

Don Lucas. Larry Ellison. Oracle.

As I said, Elizabeth Holmes being pretty much from Silicon Valley royalty was key to the leverage she managed to achieve. I'll be surprised if she's found guilty.

Tim Draper is a major SV personality and an early investor in Theranos lending it legitimacy.

He cut her a personal check for $100k when she was 19 and didn't have much of a company because he liked her.

Not following up on that investment is a pretty strong signal

We were the chumps.

Most of us knew something wasen't right, but were afraid to ask the hard questions. I don't belive it was do to gender. Plus it was the whole fake it till you make it cool kids time.

That black turtleneck borrowed from Jobs. That was the only thing that tipped me off at first. And no, I was not going comment on her looks. Was it because she was female? I don't know? I just knew it was a tell. (I didn't know anything about her, or her company. I just saw a person acting a part.)

The rest of her story didn't make much sense, but so many Silicon Valley companies don't make sense. She just jumped on the band wagon.

A years worth of chem at college. (I don't know for sure.)

Rediculious claims about hematology.

A generation of tech folks fawning over Zuckerburg. It was the "Everything is possible with youth, hard work, white, comming from wealth".

Investors were salivating over another Zuck.

If she is found innocent, or guilty, I don't think it will affect women entrepreneurs.

She is blaming everyone, but that's what the wealthy do when in a bind. It's never their fault. Always the victim.

She was an aberration. We were the fools.

I believe she dodged some hard questions because of her gender, but so many wealthy semi-attractive male/female entrepreneurs seem to skate through life without getting asked the hard questions, until it's too late.

I do find it disconcerting that kids (male, or female) from wealthy families get so many passes in life.

Lends credence to the idea that Holmes and everybody she associates with have a very casual association with the truth. This guy may not be directly involved with the trial, but he certainly isn't helping her case any.

Makes me think of a quote from the Berezovsky trial a while back:

The judge concurred, concluding, “I found Mr Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes.” Berezovsky lost.

(From Guardian profile of Jonathan Sumption, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/aug/06/jonathan-sumptio... . That quote has always stuck with me since it describes so many of the different dweebs who we all run into).

Baby granddaddy has an interest in the outcome.

I'm no fan of Holmes or Theranos, but I have to say it would be weird if Holmes goes to jail when the Sacklers not only stayed out but got to keep their billions too. The law works in mysterious ways.

Not weird, simply a correction of errors.

This man is obviously Holmes' admirer. He likely sees nothing wrong with telling people half-truths.

He’s family. But maybe he’s playing a deeper con that the media fell for. We’ll see.

Just bizarre


I think (but correct me if I'm wrong) that sometimes HN puts "controversial" articles - like, I'm guessing this one could be construed as?- on the second page automatically? Not entirely sure why but I think I remember dang mentioning that one time.

I think you might be right, but on the topic - two things: to those who would downvote me when this is unexplained - your behaviour is silly. If I am wrong, please explain.

Second, to have opaque ajudication on things is not in the best interest of this community. Posts that are penalized in this manner should have a post indicating as such.

You just have to kind of laugh at this.. people willing to be this sociopathic for possible minimal gain. Like their risk/reward is completely off-balance because the risk can always be mitigated by having a lot of money.

Reward: some reporters fall for your everyman spiel and manner and write a nicer article about Holmes

Risk: you're found out and... nothing. nothing happens to you because you're rich and its not like your career is in jeopardy.

I guess when you're super rich you never have any consequences to doing stuff like this so why not try it? Worse that can happen is you get an article written about you.

>nothing happens to you because you're rich

What do you believe happens to non-rich people who lie to reporters when accosted by reporters in public?

This doesn't really seem like an interesting story to me. It has no bearing on the case or the outcome or anything else really. Just some weird tangentially-related guy lied about who he is.

He's her father-in-law, not exactly tangential relations.

From seeing all the things about Elizabeth Holmes, it seems that this is someone who is an ongoing danger to society. She is a complete psychopath who takes advantage of every human emotion and predisposition to benefit herself without any thought of what damage she is causing others. Every action of hers seems so calculating (similar to Ted Buddy from what I have read). I hope she gets a very long prison sentence.

No, all the enablers are danger to society.

Who are the enablers in your view? I know there were many noteworthy investors and names attached to Theranos as a strategy to give it credibility and momentum. But in the end wasn’t it enabled by just us, the everyday people? Everyone ate up the Fortune cover story and every outlet from news media to Facebook to LinkedIn leveraged Elizabeth Holmes as a beacon for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. The author of that cover story also may have been a victim, or so he claimed in a follow up article (https://fortune.com/2015/12/17/how-theranos-misled-me-elizab...). I see Holmes and other key associates as those primarily at fault in this saga, but hold the public secondarily responsible for eating it all up so uncritically.

Looking past the eccentricities, he's clearly a nuanced thinker with regard to humanity and human values. This is easy to tell by examining both his viewpoint that the media is being shallow, and that one can't really know this person (Holmes). Protecting those he's closest to, as well.

Watch this guy, he will bare his teeth more often after this event of exposure. He is going to protect her blindspot (frankly: morality in general) with his deepening-fractal viewpoint on right and wrong.

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