On Thursday, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes filed a 112-question survey for potential jurors for her fraud trial, which is set to begin in August. Presumably, it seeks to weed out people who would love to take time off work to watch this thing.
As the Wall Street Journal first reported, the often multi-part questions probe whether people are bloggers like us or readers like you—in fact, it outright asks whether prospectives have read Gizmodo. Weeee. (We’re on an extensive list of nearly 50 outlets that range from the New York Times to Breitbart, but still.) They also ask whether survey-takers have blogged. And they want to know whether they follow journalists including Kara Swisher.
Perhaps a little too emphatic about suggesting that jurors DON’T GOOGLE IT, they list at least 15 journalists, 19 television and radio outlets, 46 publishers, a TED talk, a podcast, two books, two documentaries, and a 20/20 special.
Understandably, Holmes doesn’t need people who are very online. Twitter was ablaze when the longtime Steve Jobs impersonator turned out to stand on an empire of bullshit, i.e., an alleged multi-million dollar fraud scheme by her blood-testing startup, Theranos. After a good run of acclaim from top media outlets, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Holmes and former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani with raising $700 million from investors using outrageous claims—including that the Department of Defense used Theranos technology in Afghanistan and that the company would generate $100 million in 2014. It turned out that, according to the SEC, Theranos mostly relied on other companies’ blood testing technology. At its height, Theranos was valued at $9 billion.
In a court filing quoted by the Verge, the prosecution called the survey “far too long, deeply intrusive in unnecessary ways, argumentative, and repetitive.” See, for example, the following:
- Have you ever written a letter to the editor or called into a radio show?
- What are your spouse’s hobbies, major interests, recreational pastimes and spare time activities and sports?
- If you have ever been a published or unpublished author, please describe the things you have written and when you wrote them:
- Have you ever posted messages, comments, or opinions on websites/social media, or blogged?
- How much in the news media do you believe is fair and accurate?
- Have you ever reported someone for wrongdoing to your employer or a government agency?
- If the United States government accuses a corporative executive of committing fraud, do you think he or she is: [various degrees of guilty or innocent]
- If the United States government accuses a corporate executive in the field of medical devices and laboratory testing of a crime, do you think he or she is: [various degrees of guilty or innocent]
- You are going to be instructed that a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on what you have read or heard so far, do you hold the opinion that the defendant is: [various degrees of guilt or innocent]
If you tick the “very probably not guilty” box under all of the last three questions, and also passed all of the additional 109 questions, and also don’t read this blog post, A+. The trial is set to begin at the end of August.