SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Daniel Edlin, a former Theranos project manager who was friends with Elizabeth Holmes’ brother, testified Friday that Holmes had told him to hide parts of the company’s lab from potential investors and other key visitors.
Edlin, who worked at Theranos from September 2011 to December 2016, attended Duke University, where he befriended Christian Holmes, the younger brother of Theranos founder. He told jurors in Elizabeth Holmes’ criminal trial that during tours of Theranos, visitors would see a demo room featuring the company’s MiniLab, its blood-testing technology.
Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president of Theranos, decided where the guests would go.
“I remember prior to the tour there would be certain areas of the labs that were hidden by a partition,” said Edlin, reporting directly to Holmes. “Often” [it was] areas where there were Theranos devices to make sure everyone who was in the tour couldn’t see them.”
The Holmes trial began last month and prosecutors continue to call witnesses. The Theranos founder is charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy after her blood testing startup, once valued at $9 billion, collapsed in early 2015. Holmes pleaded not guilty, as did Balwani, who will be tried separately.
Edlin told the judges that his job at the company was to focus on nurturing relationships with business partners like Walgreens. He said he left Theranos to attend business school, and “at that point I no longer believed based on what I saw that the company was able to stand behind the claims it made about its skills.”
His departure came about a year after the Wall Street Journal exposed the company’s technological and business shortcomings in a series of articles.
“I just didn’t want to be in an environment like that any longer,” he said. Edlin added that it wasn’t until 2016 that he learned that the MiniLab was not being used on patients.
Edlin was one of the many friends of Holmes’ brother Duke who went to work for Theranos. He said they interviewed as a group.
“We didn’t discuss too many details at the time, but it sounded like there was a lot of potential,” Edlin said.
Edlin told the judges that Holmes was in the office “really all the time from morning to night” and often on weekends. He said there was a period when he met Holmes daily.
His testimony continues on Tuesday.
Lance Wade, an attorney for Holmes, told the judge on Friday that he was “deeply troubled” by the prosecution’s line of questioning with certain witnesses, including former lab directors Sunil Dhawan and Adam Rosendorff.
Wade said certain questions the prosecutors put to the former lab workers appeared to imply that Theranos employees were falsifying information or data.
“There have been questions with a few witnesses that now give us the impression that there is an underlying issue of forgery or data integrity,” Wade said. He added: “There is no evidence of that in the case.”
Wade said that question “clearly has very detrimental effects on our client.”
Jeff Schenk, an assistant US attorney prosecuting the case, said the questions for Dhawan were intended to show the jurors that he was making assumptions about what was happening in the lab.
WATCH: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ lawsuit is underway