Reviews | Elizabeth Holmes’ verdict won’t teach Silicon Valley | Local News
Reviews | Elizabeth Holmes’ verdict won’t teach Silicon Valley
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Angelo Mozilo, for example, the former chief executive of Countrywide, has come under heavy criticism for spreading bad mortgages across America. It’s true. This is what Countrywide did. But he wasn’t charged with selling mortgages of mass destruction because he wasn’t the one doing it. The dirty work was done by subordinate employees. Even at Enron, some of the more egregious behavior never resulted in criminal charges because lawyers and accountants approved it, thereby isolating executives.
We are also ready to launch the book to those who violate the unwritten laws of society, even when they cannot be charged with the crime we believe they are guilty of. Take Martin Shkreli. Some called him America’s most hated man when he increased the price of the drug Daraprim by 5,000%, used primarily to treat a potentially fatal parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. It may be a moral crime, but it is not technically illegal. Still, he went to jail anyway – for defrauding investors in a completely different incident, a deal that may never have happened without his actions with Daraprim.
Did his pursuits have a broader meaning? Did that even mean that we won’t allow people to rip the system off using life-saving drugs? Well, no, that didn’t mean that at all. Big Pharma has continued to aggressively raise the prices of its drugs, and because we spend so much more on drugs other than Daraprim, their actions have far more deleterious consequences for America’s out-of-control spending than those of Mr. . Shkreli.
Which brings us back to Elizabeth Holmes. For those who thought she was guilty of a great crime, this is a disappointing verdict. Essentially, the jury said she was both visionary and fraudulent. She was convicted of very specific lies, but not of running a broad criminal enterprise. In acquitting her of lying to patients and doctors, the jury seemed to believe that she had a right to trust the assurances of certain underlings that her technology worked. Of the charges the jury got stuck on, at least one juror felt that in those cases she also didn’t lie to investors.
It was precisely the opposite of the verdict I expected – and frankly wanted. I thought she would be convicted of lying to patients, but found not guilty of the charges of defrauding investors, who in my opinion should have done the homework that others who refused to give l money to Theranos did. Yes, even I wanted to send a bigger message to entrepreneurs: that it was not okay to lie to patients, who shouldn’t have to do their homework to make sure their blood test provider didn’t get them. do not lie.
But I didn’t get what I wanted, because the jury looked at the specific charges and the specific evidence and came to a different conclusion. The judge’s instructions to the jury did not say, “Please send a message to the world. And there was no larger message, no attempt to punish her beyond what the jury thought the technical details of the law allowed.
Isn’t that precisely how the law should work? If you were charged with a felony, you wouldn’t want the jury to use your case to send a message to anyone other than the verdict they gave you.
Bethany McLean (@ bethanymac12) is a collaborating editor of Vanity Fair and co-author of “The Smartest Guys in the Room”.
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