Rupert Murdoch is the highest-profile figure from the media industry who may be called to testify in the criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, which began yesterday. The media mogul
will never recover the more than $120 million
he personally invested in the
blood-testing startup, but a Holmes conviction may offer at least some consolation.
Murdoch is among the VIPs that prosecutorsincluded on their list of more than 200
potential witnesses, along with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who were on the Theranos board of directors.
The highly anticipated
trial is the latest chapter in a saga about an entrepreneur celebrated as a Silicon Valley visionary like Steve Jobs — an image that Holmes cultivated by wearing black turtlenecks. In 2014, she
graced the covers of magazines, including Fortune
, as the value of Theranos rose to
$10 billion, making her one of the youngest self-made women billionaires.
Surprisingly, Holmes’ list of possible witness includes John Carreyrou, The Wall Street
Journal reporter who broke the story that Theranos’ technology was defective in 2015. He later wrote the best-selling book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley
Startup” that further described how the company tried to hide its shortcomings.
According to Carreyou’s account, Holmes visited Murdoch’s News Corp. office
before the WSJ
ran its first story about Theranos. Holmes said she had hoped Murdoch would offer to kill the story. To his credit, Murdoch denied her request to stop publication, saying he
trusted the paper’s editorial decisions, New York
Perhaps the prosecutors will ask Murdoch to recount that episode to dramatize how Holmes tried to perpetrate a fraud. Her defense team may try to portray Murdoch as an
aggrieved investor who will say anything to put Holmes behind bars, giving him the last laugh.