Holmes Takes Aim at ‘Incompetent’ Theranos Lab Director, Misses
(Bloomberg) -- A lawyer representing Elizabeth Holmes was blocked from taking his best shot at undermining a former Theranos Inc. lab director who’s been a damning witness at her criminal trial.
It looked on Tuesday like Holmes’s lawyer, Lance Wade, might finally have an opening to discredit Adam Rosendorff and weaken the impact of his testimony about the failure of Theranos blood-testing machines. Wade uncovered how in 2014, after Rosendorff left Theranos in disgust, he went on to serve as a lab director at uBiome Inc. -- a Silicon Valley medical startup that collapsed in a morass of insolvency, regulatory probes and criminal charges, similar to Theranos.
The point was to show Rosendorff “was incompetent at Theranos, too,” Wade told the judge handling the trial. Jurors might not find Holmes guilty, Wade argued, if her lab director was shown to be unqualified to perform the job.
But U.S. District Judge Edward Davila wasn’t having it. The judge told Wade that raising uBiome was “more prejudicial than probative” because it risked implicating Rosendorff or even implying that he was involved in criminal conduct when he wasn’t.
The indictments of uBiome’s founders are related to billing and “didn’t have anything to do with the operation of the lab per se,” he said. Davila shut down a similar avenue Wade wanted to pursue about laboratory deficiencies at Invitae, another company Rosendorff worked at after Theranos.
The judge also said he thought Wade’s questioning of Rosendorff over multiple days served to challenge his competency.
“You were grilling him,” Davila said.
In turning the tables on Rosendorff, Wade tried to counter testimony from a procession of witnesses who have portrayed Holmes as willing to cut corners on quality control and scientific standards to get her product to market, even at the expense of patient safety. She has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges that could send her to prison for up to 20 years if she’s convicted.
Davila’s ruling left little for Wade to dig into about Rosendorff’s jobs since Theranos.
Under the lawyer’s questioning, Rosendorff acknowledged that that earlier this year two regulators who had investigated Theranos almost a decade earlier performed a review at PerkinElmer, the laboratory where he works now.
“That created some implications for you personally, is that right?” Wade asked. Rosendorff confirmed that in a phone conversation with one of the regulators he learned that -- depending on the final outcome of the PerkinElmer review -- his license could be suspended.
“Yes, for at least two years,” Rosendorff said matter of factly, seemingly unbothered by the inquiry.
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