Day-to-day events are mostly procedural, technical, and sometimes dull, my colleagues Erin Wu and Erin Griffith write in a new article on what it’s like inside the courtroom. (Apparently Holmes is easy to draw because she rarely moves, a courtroom artist revealed in the piece.)
I caught up with Wu and Griffith, who told me what shocked them about the trial so far and what they’ll look forward to going forward.
running out of jurors
The jury appears to be the biggest threat to keeping the case on track.
The trial began with 17 jury members, consisting of five substitutes. But we’re less than halfway through, and there are only three options left.
In the first week, a jury member was dismissed after learning that his employer would not compensate him for the time.
Then last week, a jury member was sent home after she said her Buddhism made her uncomfortable with the idea of punishing Holmes. Her replacement said she did not speak English well, although the judge did not allow her to go.
“I think some of us were terrified that the whole thing was going to come out last week,” Griffith told me. “It was hard enough to find 17 people who had never heard of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes and could set aside three months of their lives for this.”
Jury members should also be protected from any news coverage of the trial so that they remain impartial. The judge begins and ends each court session by asking whether they have recently heard of Holmes or Theranos.
And there’s the pandemic to worry about – testimony on day one of the trial was quickly revoked because a juror had a COVID-19 exposure.
If the number of jurors is reduced to less than 12, a wrongful trial could result, a major setback for prosecutors given that the trial has already been repeatedly delayed.
Will Holmes testify?
Most of the witnesses that have been questioned are not always easy to follow.
Words like “immunoassays” and abbreviations like hCG (a hormone test) are often presented without any explanation, Wu said.
“Something I didn’t expect given how much testimony deals with very complex scientific issues, and how little it seems that those issues have been written up for a jury—at least in part because of their unfamiliarity with Theranos. The biotech industry,” Wu told me. “I’m very interested to see what they get out of it.”
The prosecution is presently presenting its case, after which the defense will begin. Holmes’ lawyers are expected to argue that she was molested by her former partner and ex-boyfriend, Sunny Balwani.
Holmes is on the list of potential witnesses, although we don’t know if she is going to testify.
Reporters have no idea who is on the schedule for the day, and they weren’t even warned when former Defense Secretary James Mattis was called to the stand a few weeks ago.
“Every new witness is a little surprising. You hear whispers and furious typing spread like a wave across the room as journalists relay the news to their editors or Twitter, Griffith told me. The film was the closest thing to a courtroom moment. I actually let out a small gasp. “
for more information:
rest of the news
A Hollywood success: With solid turnout over the weekend for the latest James Bond spectacle, movie theaters are finally bouncing back from the pandemic.
power cut: Pacific Gas & Electric on Monday began shutting down power to about 25,000 customers in central and northern California, and Southern California Edison warned it could do the same amid a fire threat, The Associated Press reports.
Covid-19 Shots: If you’ve got COVID-19, do you need a vaccine?
Latino Voters: Jennifer Medina, political reporter for the Times based in Los Angeles, talks about how she pops into the minds of Latinos who voted for Trump.
Dottie Dojian: Dojian, one of very few high-profile female drummers in the male-dominated jazz world of the 1950s and ’60s, died in Pacific Grove on September 17. She was 91 years old.
Coronavirus death toll: As of Monday, more than 70,000 people have died from Covid-19 in California, the Associated Press reports, the most deaths of any state.
A Parallel Universe: This Los Angeles artist creates large-scale, iridescent works that transport audiences to foreign worlds.
Oil spill: Huntington Beach reopened on Monday after being closed for an offshore oil spill. Officials say there are no detectable levels of oil-related toxins in the water, The Associated Press reports.
Plane crash: According to The Associated Press, a private plane crashed in a residential suburb of San Diego, killing at least two people and damaging 10 homes.
ViewWhat the LA city council seat represents about power and politics.
Preserving the Colorado River: As the Los Angeles Times reports, farmers in the Palo Verde Irrigation District are being paid for not growing crops in an effort to keep more water in Lake Mead, which has reached historically low levels.
Weather Alert: Polluted air is likely to prevail over most parts of the Central Valley till Wednesday.
dust storms: According to SFGate, strong winds and dry, loose soil caused a heavy dust storm that closed highways from the Sacramento Valley to the Mojave Desert.
Magic mushrooms: Officials in Arcata, a city in Humboldt County, have decriminalized the use of psychedelic plants, including mushrooms and ayahuasca, Lost Coast Outpost reports.
new fire: Multiple air-borne blasts ignited fires in Northern California on Monday, reports CBS13.
Did you get
Three $1.6 million homes in the state.
what are we eating
The Times has released a list of the 50 restaurants we’re most excited about this year. Seven are in California.
where are we traveling
Today’s travel tip comes from Patricia Rasmussen, who recommends Salinas:
This summer we decided to travel by car from Southern California, to the coast of Carmel and to Salinas – the birthplace of John Steinbeck. We visited the house he was born in and tried to visit the museum that bears his name but it was closed. Like many smaller towns, Salinas struggled to keep its main street alive during the pandemic. Even on Mondays we could enjoy the old buildings and the unique pubs. The Steinbeck home is run by volunteers who have renovated the building and recently reopened the doors to the public.
We took another short drive to Monterey as my husband looked forward to seeing Canary Row, which is not in the best condition. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has reopened and reservations are necessary.
Steinbeck and a Coastal Drive reminded us why we, Native Californians, still love California.
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions at CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.