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James Mattis testifies he invested $85,000 in Theranos


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James Mattis testifies he invested $85,000 in Theranos

Former Defense Secretary General James Mattis testified on Wednesday that as a board member at Theranos he was “frankly amazed” at what was possible at first but later became disillusioned with the company.

“We were putting our reputation at risk, and reputational risk is something I pay a lot of attention to, given my background,” Mattis said on the stand during the trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Mattis, a retired four-star general, served on Theranos’ board of directors from 2013 until December 2016, and was the first high-profile witness since the trial kicked off last month. The jury listened intently to his testimony, which lasted three hours.

“Looking back now I’m disappointed at the level of transparency from Ms. Holmes,” Mattis said, adding “we were being deprived of fundamental issues.”

Mattis was the seventh witness the government called to testify in the case. Holmes is fighting 12 charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with misleading investors and patients. She has pled not guilty.

Mattis recounted meeting Holmes after an event in San Francisco where she pricked his finger to demonstrate her blood-testing technology.

He said his first impression of the CEO was “sharp, articulate, committed,” but he was at first hesitant to accept Holmes’ invitation to join the board.

“I asked her ‘why,’ I was not a medical person,” Mattis said. He recalled that Holmes told him she wanted him on the board “to help her build a corporate culture out of building elite teams, how to get commitment out of people, it was about management, about personnel.”

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She wanted him on the board because he knows nothing about it, that's the way the system works.

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