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Father of Elizabeth Holmes’ partner pretends to be regular citizen at trial

The father of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ partner has attended her wire fraud trial pretending to be a regular citizen wanting to attend the proceeding to make sure the media coverage is fair.

During the first day of jury selection last week in the trial of the former blood testing company CEO and Silicon Valley darling, the San Diego hotel magnate told reporters his name was “Hanson”.

Ms Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison if she’s found guilty of having defrauded investors and misled patients about Theranos’ technology.

She recently had a child with her partner Billy Evans.

His father wore a baseball hat and a puffy jacket, telling reporters: “I fix up old cars for a living.”

“Elizabeth and I are the only two people not being paid to be here,” he added, according to NPR.

When asked by NPR if he had a connection to Ms Holmes, he said: “Do I know her? Does anyone know her? What does it even mean to know someone these days?”

He later said he was a “concerned citizen interested in the trial” and to attend a trial was on his bucket list.

During two days of jury selection, he talked to reporters in line to the courthouse, during breaks and in the courtroom, saying that he was surveying the media to ensure the coverage matched what he himself saw during the trial. He said he didn’t agree with the way Ms Holmes had been treated by the press.

“No journalist has ever told the real story about her,” he told NPR. “Everyone is just copy and pasting each others’ stories without thinking.”

When Ms Holmes walked into the courtroom a week later for the start of opening arguments along with her family, the man who called himself “Hanson” was walking along with the group, now wearing a suit and tie.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” New York Times reporter Erin Griffith told NPR. “I immediately started asking other reporters, and they were like, ‘I think it was him,’ and when we got inside and saw him even closer, it was like, ‘Yep that was him.’”

“Hanson” was in fact William “Bill” Evans, 61, the father of Billy Evans.

“It took a second to be like, ‘Wait, Hanson is Billy’s dad?’ This is insane,” CNBC producer Yasmin Khorram told NPR.

The parents of the older Mr Evans, William and Anne, founded Evans Hotels in 1953. Mr Evans is now in charge of the company.

The hotel mogul also inherited Evans Garage from his father, a private museum housing cars from as far back as the 1880s.

“I just didn’t fully buy that he didn’t know more about Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes in some capacity, because he wasn’t elaborating on those questions,” CNN reporter Sara Ashley O’Brien told NPR. “He claimed to go by ‘Hanson,’ but he had a different name on his Starbucks cup.”

Ms O’Brien noted that “Hanson’s” Starbucks cup had said Bill or Billy, and that he was wearing “quite fancy shoes for a random man attending a trial”.

“Are you a mole?” NPR reporter Bobby Allyn asked Mr Evans in an elevator, prompting a joke from the hotel owner about having a mole on his bald scalp.

Ms Khorram from CNBC followed Mr Evans out of the courtroom and asked if he was paying for the luxurious Silicon Valley mansion where Ms Holmes and his son are staying. Mr Evans ignored the producer.

“And then I said, ‘why did you tell us your name was Hanson,” Ms Khorram told NPR. “And he booked it for the men’s restroom.”

“It’s too ironic,” Ms Griffith said. “That Elizabeth Holmes is on trial for fraud and the media has this whole two days of interaction with someone who was misrepresenting themselves from her extended family.”

When NPR called Mr Evans and asked about why he gave a fake name to reporters and didn’t reveal his connection to Ms Holmes, he said he had no memory of interacting with the reporter, despite sitting next to him in the courtroom for seven hours.

But he defended calling himself “Hanson”.

“People have nicknames and you can be free to use them,” Mr Evans told NPR. “On that note, I’ll say goodbye.”

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