SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A jury deciding the fate of Elizabeth Holmes finished its fifth full day of deliberations without making a peep.
Jurors left the federal courthouse in San Jose Tuesday afternoon after failing to reach a unanimous verdict.
Holmes’ chances of winning a “not guilty” verdict increase as time goes by, legal analyst Michele Hagan said.
The jury was particularly quiet for the past two days, mulling over the case behind closed doors without submitting a single question to U.S. District Judge Edward Davila.
Jurors’ minds are awash with three months of testimony. They heard from 29 government witnesses who testified against Holmes. The defense only called on three witnesses, including Holmes as the star witness.
Holmes, 37, is charged with nine counts of fraud and two counts of conspiracy. She is accused of defrauding investors out of $155 million while she was CEO of a Silicon Valley biotech company, Theranos.
Theranos collapsed after its technology flaws were exposed in 2015 and 2016. Federal prosecutors charged Holmes and Sunny Balwani — the former COO of Theranos and Holmes’ ex-boyfriend — with conspiracy and fraud.
Before Christmas, the jury asked the judge only one question about evidence. Jurors requested that the court replay a secretly recorded phone call Holmes made with investors in 2013. Prosecutors said Holmes lied several times on the tape.
What happens if the jury finds Holmes guilty?
Even if the jury returns with a guilty verdict, Holmes will not be handcuffed and hauled off to jail right away. She will likely remain out of custody until a sentencing hearing happens, Hagan said.
“She’s not going to be a flight risk,” Hagan said.
Holmes is accused of crimes involving money, not murder, so in addition to being low-flight risk, she’s also not considered a threat to public safety.
As for Holmes’ punishment, Judge Davila has wide discretion. He could sentence Holmes to serve as little as 21 months in prison.
Hagan said in federal wire fraud cases similar to Holmes’ case, the average sentence issued by judges was 21 months in prison.
If Judge Davila choses to hand down the maximum prison sentence possible, she would be sentenced to 20 years in prison. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
What happens if the jury can’t reach a verdict?
If the 12 jurors are unable to reach a unanimous verdict, a few things can happen.
The judge could instruct the jury to continue deliberating longer in hopes that they can eventually deliver a unanimous verdict. There is no time limit for how long a jury can deliberate.
The judge also has the authority to declare a mistrial because of a hung jury.
If a mistrial is declared, federal prosecutors could pursue a retrial, starting from square one with a new jury. Alternatively, prosecutors could decide to not seek a retrial if they believe there is not enough evidence to prove Holmes’ guilt.