Federal judge must rule on her bid for a new trial, after former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff’s statement that he regrets his testimony during her criminal fraud trial
It is a rare event for a board-certified clinical pathologist to be named in national news headlines, but that is what is happening now to Adam Rosendorff, MD, who served as the CLIA laboratory director at Theranos for several years.
Rosendorff is once more the subject of news headlines because of his recent statements expressing “regret” about his testimony for the prosecution during the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and ex-CEO of now defunct Theranos. This development caused attorneys for Holmes to file a motion for a new trial.
In August, Rosendorff showed up at the residence of Elizabeth Holmes and made statements to her attorneys that are the basis for the motion to conduct a new trial.
In a recent court filing requesting the new trial, Holmes’ attorneys described Rosendorff as a “star witness” for the prosecution and pointed out, “The government mentioned him more than any other government witness in both opening and closing statements, and Dr. Rosendorff testified longer than any other government witness.”
During four days of testimony last October, Rosendorff emerged as a central prosecution witness. On the stand, he supported prosecutors’ contention that Holmes knew about the accuracy issues with Theranos’ Edison blood-testing device and intentionally mislead investors and patients.
Dark Daily covered Rosendorff’s testimony in “Former Theranos Lab Director and Staff Testify in Ongoing Elizabeth Holmes Fraud Trial That They Voiced Concerns about Reliability and Accuracy of Edison Blood-Testing Device.”
In court testimony, Adam Rosendorff, MD (above) said, “I had frequent conversations with Elizabeth about concerns that I had in the laboratory,” and [that] she was often copied on emails discussing issues, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. As clinical laboratory leaders who closely followed his testimony know, Rosendorff was Theranos’ laboratory director from April 2013 to November 2014. (Photo copyright: LinkedIn.)
Rosendorff Attempts to Meet with Holmes
The “Dr. Rosendorff’s Encounter at Ms. Holmes’ Home” section of the 17-page filing states Rosendorff appeared at the home of Holmes and her partner William Evans on August 8 after leaving a voicemail earlier in the evening asking for a meeting with Holmes. Rosendorff allegedly had two short conversations with Evans, who told him Holmes could not speak to anyone and asked Rosendorff to leave. Rosendorff was described by Evans as speaking in a “trembling” voice and appearing to be “in distress.”
The filing goes on to state Rosendorff told Evans “that he wanted to speak to Ms. Holmes because it would be ‘healing for both himself and Elizabeth to talk.’ He stated that ‘when he was called as a witness, he tried to answer the questions honestly but that the prosecutors tried to make everyone look bad’ and that ‘the government made things sound worse than they were when he was up on the stand during his testimony.’”
The filing continues: “Dr. Rosendorff stated that ‘Theranos was early in his and [Ms. Holmes’] career,’ that ‘everyone was just doing the best they could,’ and ‘everyone was working so hard to do something good and meaningful.’”
The section concludes, “He stated that ‘he fe[lt] guilty’ and that he ‘felt like he had done something wrong,’ apparently in connection with his testimony in Ms. Holmes’ case. He stated that these issues were ‘weighing on him’ and that “he was having trouble sleeping.’”
Rosendorff’s Regrets Unlikely to Trigger New Trial
In the filing, Holmes’ attorneys wrote, “under any interpretation of his statements, the statements warrant a new trial under Rule 33. But, at a minimum … the Court should order an evidentiary hearing and permit Ms. Holmes to subpoena Dr. Rosendorff to testify about his concerns.”
According to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 33, New Trial, newly discovered evidence is grounds for seeking a new trial.
Bloomberg, however, quoted criminal defense attorney Michael Weinstein, JD, Chair of Cole Schotz P.C.’s White-Collar Litigations and Government Investigations Practice, as saying Rosendorff’s misgivings about his testimony are unlikely to warrant a new trial.
“A witness having second thoughts and how they were generally perceived is not new in criminal trials but often don’t lead to new trials or much of anything,” Weinstein told Bloomberg. “The burden for that is simply too high.” Weinstein was not involved in the Holmes case.
Nevertheless, Holmes’ lawyers have proposed an October 3 hearing to discuss why they believe a new trial is merited. Their request for a new trial came less than a week after U.S. District Judge Edward Davila rejected the defense team’s bid to have Holmes’ January convictions thrown out, the Mercury News reported.
“The evidence does support the jury’s findings,” Davila said at a September 1 hearing in San Jose, California, in which he issued a preliminary ruling denying her bid to have the verdict thrown out.
Theranos Saga Continues
At the hearing, Holmes’ lawyer Amy Mason Saharia, JD, told Davila the defense team would make another attempt to overturn the jury’s findings based on “new evidence,” the Mercury News stated. That new evidence appears to be Rosendorff’s admission that he has regrets about his testimony in the case.
Holmes, 38, is currently free on bail, but faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution on each of four counts. She will be sentenced on October 17. The court originally set her sentencing date for September 26, but agreed to delay her sentencing without giving a reason for the delay, CBS News reported.
Will former Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff, MD’s, regrets alter the court’s previous decisions? Who knows? Many clinical laboratory directors and medical laboratory scientists followed Elizabeth Holmes’ nearly four-month long fraud trial with rapt interest. They will now have to wait a few more weeks to find out if the disgraced Theranos executive will get a new trial or a prison sentence.
—Andrea Downing Peck