Theranos' trial jury ultimately heard from Elizabeth Holmes – not in person, but via a recording of her pitching her blood-testing firm to investors in a 2013 conference call.
For the first time at the San Jose trial, Holmes was not being characterized by others, as she had been for the previous six weeks.
Instead, jurors heard the young entrepreneur speak in her voice, boasting her company's leaps in technological advancement, a rocketing stock price, and a rapidly closing window of investment opportunity, all of which would naturally create a sense of urgency to step in.
The audio got kept by a Dallas-based Hall Group executive who had managed an early $2 million investment in Theranos — and who testified Friday in a slow, folksy Texas accent that he approved a $5 million investment because Holmes sounded so convincing on the phone.
Bryan Tolbert, a vice president of Hall Group, told jurors, "There was a limited amount of time to react and make an investment choice." Craig Hall's real estate company is called Hall Group.
According to Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney who teaches at the University of Michigan Law School, Tolbert's tape is a "jackpot" for prosecutors and "some of the most damaging evidence a prosecutor can offer." Jurors will be able to "hear the defendant's statements," allowing them to "judge for themselves if she had the intent to deceive the investors," she said.