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The Dropout podcast

The Dropout

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  ABC News  

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges — to which she pleaded not guilty — and up to decades in prison? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize health care, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way? ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners on a journey that includes a multi-year investigation. You'll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes, and those at the center of this story. Starting August 31, 2021, in a series of new episodes, "The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial" will take you inside the courtroom, breaking down the evidence and keeping score for both sides until 12 jurors decide the fate of the Theranos founder and new mother. Three years after she was first charged, we find out how this saga finally ends.

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges — to which she pleaded not guilty — and up to decades in prison? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize health care, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way? ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners on a journey that includes a multi-year investigation. You'll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes, and those at the center of this story. Starting August 31, 2021, in a series of new episodes, "The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial" will take you inside the courtroom, breaking down the evidence and keeping score for both sides until 12 jurors decide the fate of the Theranos founder and new mother. Three years after she was first charged, we find out how this saga finally ends.

 

#17

The Clients

Theranos’ biggest clients, Walgreens and Safeway, are on the stand this week, testifying to what exactly they say they were told before signing multimillion-dollar deals with the blood testing startup. In email exchanges, text messages and board presentations, the prosecution paints a picture of deception while the defense claims the industry giants should’ve known better. Plus, we hear from Sunny Balwani’s dermatologist of 15 years, who happened to also become Theranos’ lab director. ... Read more

19 Oct 2021

44 MINS

44:42

19 Oct 2021


#16

Crime and Punishment

This week, two jurors ask to be excused, citing stress around punishment and the responsibilities in deciding the future of Elizabeth Holmes. A young woman, with unusual ties to this case, gives her perspective as a trial observer, and a veteran Silicon Valley investor puts the Theranos saga in larger context. ... Read more

12 Oct 2021

34 MINS

34:19

12 Oct 2021


#15

Sounding the Alarm

This week, we hear some shocking insights from a former Theranos lab director who says he tried to stop the train before it ran off the tracks. From failing machines to a lack of proficiency testing, he tells of the pressure he felt to vouch for tests while maintaining his integrity as a lab director. And he describes how he says he tried to delay the Walgreens launch, pleading with a “nervous” Elizabeth, who went forward nonetheless. But does an aggressive and lengthy cross-examination undermine his claims? ... Read more

05 Oct 2021

40 MINS

40:23

05 Oct 2021


#14

The General and the Patient

This week, a high-profile witness from Elizabeth’s superstar board of directors surprises the courtroom by taking the stand: 4-star general and former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. He speaks of being dazzled by the potential of Theranos’ devices on the battlefield and the disillusionment he felt when the full story came to light. Plus, we meet a patient whose Theranos test results led to a terrifying ordeal. ... Read more

28 Sep 2021

39 MINS

39:12

28 Sep 2021


#13

Mystery Men

This week, we hear from Erika Cheung, one of the whistleblowers who originally set Elizabeth’s downfall in motion and who says she was subjected to disturbing intimidation tactics as a result. Legal experts analyze the success of each side’s opening arguments. And a mysterious man named “Hanson” causes quite the stir. ... Read more

21 Sep 2021

39 MINS

39:12

21 Sep 2021


#12

Setting the Stage

Elizabeth, holding hands with her partner, Billy and her mother, Noel, breezes into the courthouse to hear opening statements in her financial fraud trial. The government and the defense set the stage, giving us a roadmap of how their sides of the case will unfold. The prosecution says this is a case about fraud, lying and cheating, while the defense paints a picture of an ambitious young woman trying to change the world. She made mistakes, they say, but didn’t break the law. And we hear from the case’s first witness: Theranos’ top ranking financial employee who has a lot to say about how Elizabeth may have misled investors. ... Read more

14 Sep 2021

45 MINS

45:26

14 Sep 2021


#11

The Jury

This week, after 11th-hour bombshell allegations of abuse were revealed, we meet the seven men and five women who will ultimately be deciding Elizabeth Holmes’ fate. We take a peek inside the courtroom, and speak with some of the potential jurors who were dismissed. We’ll hear firsthand what Elizabeth’s demeanor is like in the courtroom, what the prosecution and defense appeared to be looking for in a jury, and details about who was actually chosen. ... Read more

07 Sep 2021

29 MINS

29:50

07 Sep 2021


#10

Bombshell

Today, after four postponements, a global pandemic and a baby, Elizabeth’s long-awaited trial finally begins with jury selection. With millions of pages of discovery, a potential witness list of more than 200, and nearly 4,000 exhibits, Elizabeth’s team of heavyweights has their work cut out. And at the 11th hour, the biggest bombshell yet -- Elizabeth’s team has alleged that she was subjected to a decade of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. How will this play for a jury? Will Elizabeth take the stand, and what are the chances of a conviction? ... Read more

31 Aug 2021

49 MINS

49:28

31 Aug 2021


#9

Where Have You Been, Elizabeth Holmes?

It’s been over three years since Elizabeth Holmes was charged with multiple counts of fraud. Once the youngest female self-made billionaire, she was poised to change health care forever. Now she faces decades in prison if convicted. What has Elizabeth been up to while the government has been building its case against her? The answer includes a trip to Burning Man, a new relationship and a baby born just over a month before her trial. ... Read more

31 Aug 2021

43 MINS

43:06

31 Aug 2021


#8

Introducing 'The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial'

Starting Aug. 31, in a series of new episodes, "The Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial" will take you inside the courtroom, breaking down the evidence and keeping score for both sides until 12 jurors decide the fate of the Theranos founder and new mother. Three years after she was first charged, we find out how this saga finally ends. ... Read more

05 Aug 2021

03 MINS

03:30

05 Aug 2021


#7

6. What Now?

As Elizabeth Holmes awaits a criminal trial, how is she spending her days? A former employee who had a chance encounter tells us some surprising new details about just that, while an old classmate emerges to share some insight into her past. Plus former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara shares his analysis on Elizabeth's potential legal fate...and then there's Balto. ... Read more

27 Feb 2019

41 MINS

41:04

27 Feb 2019


#6

5. The Downfall

Elizabeth Holmes, once the darling of Silicon Valley, is under a different kind of spotlight. Now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, she is forced to answer tough questions under oath. The claims that Elizabeth had been repeating over and over again to the public, investors, doctors and her board are under fire; the woman who once had all the answers, suddenly seems to have none. And for the first time, the lawyer for former Theranos COO, Sunny Balwani, speaks out, providing a glimpse into his defense. ... Read more

20 Feb 2019

44 MINS

44:25

20 Feb 2019


#5

4. The Whistleblower

With Theranos technology now being used by real customers, many employees are at a breaking point. They are horrified by what they believe to be widespread deception and dangerous practices, but Theranos has implemented increasingly extreme measures to stop them from speaking out. As the threat of litigation lingers, one brave and unlikely whistleblower, with close ties to Elizabeth Holmes and the board of directors, emerges. ... Read more

13 Feb 2019

46 MINS

46:27

13 Feb 2019


#4

3. A Star is Born

Elizabeth becomes a celebrity as Theranos breaks out of stealth mode and onto the main stage. The media can't get enough, and neither can many investors as Theranos Wellness Centers start popping up at Walgreens. To take advantage of the moment, Elizabeth spends millions on advertising, recruiting the same agency as Apple and even an Oscar-winning director. But real patients are now getting Theranos tests, and for some the results are shocking. ... Read more

06 Feb 2019

45 MINS

45:23

06 Feb 2019


#3

2. The Enforcer

Elizabeth brings on an unexpected character as her right-hand man at Theranos and it turns out they are hiding a big secret. They strike a monumental deal with Walgreens that could potentially put millions of lives at risk while insiders say a culture of fear and intimidation at the company leads to incredible tragedy. ... Read more

30 Jan 2019

42 MINS

42:16

30 Jan 2019


#2

1. Myth-Making

On the premiere episode of The Dropout, you'll meet a young Elizabeth Holmes. Convinced of her own destiny even as a young child, she would come to drop out of Stanford in her late teens, intending to mold herself after the great tech icons of our time. Her obsession with Steve Jobs -- down to his signature black turtlenecks -- would become particularly pronounced as she launched her company Theranos. ... Read more

23 Jan 2019

49 MINS

49:12

23 Jan 2019


#1

Trailer: The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos

The Dropout tells the story of the rise and fall of former Silicon Valley darling Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made female billionaire. She dropped out of Stanford to launch her company Theranos -- claiming her technology could detect hundreds of diseases from a drop or two of blood. If it worked, she would have changed healthcare forever. But today, Elizabeth Holmes is under criminal indictment. She pleaded not guilty, but is facing up to 20 years in prison on wire fraud charges. So how did it all come crashing down? In exclusive interviews with former employees, investors and patients, and in and never-before-heard depositions from the people at the center of this story -- including Holmes herself -- you'll hear an unbelievable story of fame and ambition gone terribly wrong. ... Read more

15 Jan 2019

02 MINS

02:14

15 Jan 2019