James Mattis, the retired four-star Marine Corps general and former defense secretary, testified on Wednesday at the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the blood testing start-up Theranos, that she misinformed him before and during his time on the company’s board of directors.
Mr. Mattis, who served on the board for several years, said he had supported the start-up’s mission of cheap, fast and easily accessible blood tests but lost faith after The Wall Street Journal exposed major issues with the technology in 2015. It became clear to him, he said, that Ms. Holmes had not been forthcoming with Theranos’s directors about the problems.
“We were unable to help her on the fundamental issues that she was grappling with if we only saw them in the rearview mirror,” Mr. Mattis said. He resigned from the board in late 2016 after President Donald J. Trump tapped him to become defense secretary.
Two years later, Theranos collapsed amid lawsuits, fines and financial troubles, and federal prosecutors charged Ms. Holmes and her business partner, Ramesh Balwani, with a dozen counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in jail.