The trial of former Theranos no. 2 Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has been delayed over concerns that someone in the federal courtroom had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for covid-19, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Balwani’s trail was scheduled to start in San Jose on Wednesday but, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila announced—before opening had even begun—that an unnamed person who was present during jury selection had been in contact with another unnamed person who had recently tested positive for covid-19. It’s not immediately clear if the first unnamed person had been selected to serve on the jury.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was already convicted of four counts of fraud for lying to investors about her bullshit blood testing company and is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Balwani’s trial had been repeatedly delayed over covid-19 concerns, as was Holmes’. Another wrinkle has held up Balwani’s day in court, though: Too many potential jurors had apparently seen the Hulu series The Dropout about the entire Theranos mess. Opening statements had to be pushed back because questioning the jurors took so long, delayed by jurors’ varying awareness knowledge of the fiascos that followed Holmes and Balwani’s blood testing company. To the defense’ chagrin, multiple jurors had followed the Theranos saga in the news and knew of the pair’s romantic relationship.
Balwani was COO of Theranos from 2009 until 2016, when things started to come crashing down and people were asking hard questions about whether the company’s technology actually worked as advertised. It did not (sorry for spoiling the show).
Balwani is played by Naveen Andrews in the Hulu eight-episode limited series, which has already aired four episodes. The next episode will be available on Hulu starting today.
The covid-induced trial delay comes as the U.S. is experiencing a steady decline in the number of covid-19 cases over the past few weeks, though numbers are still relatively high compared with many other countries. The U.S. saw 45,162 new cases and 2,228 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday. Over 967,000 Americans have died from covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.