Jurors were set on Monday to deliver a verdict in the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing start-up Theranos.
The jury of eight men and four women began deliberating on Dec. 20, spending three days that week sequestered in their discussions. They deliberated for another three days last week.
On Monday morning, they said they were deadlocked on three of the 11 counts facing Ms. Holmes. They were instructed to keep deliberating, but said in the afternoon that they could not come to an agreement on those three charges. They were instructed to fill out a verdict form on the other eight counts. The other three counts were set aside for later.
A decision caps a three-month-plus trial that has been held up as a referendum on the worst excesses of Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, which has been driven by mantras such as “move fast and break things” and “fake it until you make it.”
Ms. Holmes, 37, has spent weeks fighting the 11 charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, each fraud charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A conviction could also reverberate around Silicon Valley, where criminal prosecutions have declined
Ms. Holmes’s case boils down to intent. Jurors have to decide whether she purposely deceived investors, doctors and patients through false statements about Theranos’s blood testing technology and business partnerships.
Prosecutors called 29 witnesses — including Theranos employees, investors, commercial partners, doctors and patients — who testified about a dysfunctional lab environment, faked technology demonstrations and investments made on the basis of claims that turned out to be inaccurate.
The defense’s case rested heavily upon the testimony of Ms. Holmes. She said that she had believed her own claims and had been led astray by her board members and senior employees — most notably Ramesh Balwani, Theranos’s former chief operating officer and Ms. Holmes’s ex-boyfriend. Ms. Holmes said that he physically and emotionally abused her, implying that she was incapable of committing the fraud the government has charged her with.
Mr. Balwani, who has denied Ms. Holmes’s accusations, faces identical charges. The court announced on Dec. 13 that his trial would be pushed to February instead of starting in January because of the length of Ms. Holmes’s trial.