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Theranos Trial: Juror Excused From Elizabeth Holmes Trial Over Religious Beliefs

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- After thanking her for her honesty, the judge at the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial dismissed a juror Wednesday who was doubtful she could deliver a guilty verdict because of her religious beliefs.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila made the decision to empanel an alternate after a careful round of questioning.

The dismissed juror told Davila she was a Buddhist and could not stop thinking about the impact of a guilty verdict.

"I practice forgiveness, compassion," the juror told Davila. "I'm thinking what happens if she has to be in there for a long, long time and I'm out here. I'll feel like it's my fault."

It's already the second time a juror has had to be dismissed.

"It's a big blow to this jury process because it's just a month into it and we have a long way to go. If they lose another couple of jurors, there could be a mistrial," said former prosecutor and legal analyst Steve Clark.

The judge told the jury not to consider punishment when weighing the evidence in the case.

Wednesday's court action focused on the testimony of former Safeway Chief Executive Officer Steve Burd.

He said he was struck by Holmes' "charisma" and the promise of her "fascinating" technology, but a deal to put the company's blood testing devices in stores never materialized.

Burd testified he was immediately interested in Theranos when he heard Elizabeth Holmes' pitch that her desktop devices could run hundreds of blood tests from one finger stick of blood.

He said he arranged a demonstration for his board of directors in which Holmes drew blood from one of the board members and put it into her machine.

"It made noises" he said, but it never gave results.

"What this is doing is putting focus back on Elizabeth Holmes," said Clark.

Safeway went on to invest $85 million in Theranos.

"When you hear about the demonstration that was done in front of these people and they invested anyway, I thought that was important for the government to show this is a highly persuasive, convincing individual who left a lot of carnage along the way," Clark said.

Burd will be back on the witness stand when the trial resumes next week.

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