SAN JOSE, Calif.—Elizabeth Holmes took the witness stand Friday afternoon to defend herself towards criminal-fraud expenses tied to the failure of Theranos Inc., the startup she based in 2003 as a 19-year-old school dropout.

Ms. Holmes, who appeared composed and polished, opened her testimony initially of the Theranos story: discussing her laboratory work as a school freshman at Stanford College, the mentorship she acquired from a Stanford professor and her imaginative and prescient at the same time as a teen to alter healthcare. Her look—unmasked for the primary time in courtroom—energized a case that’s heading towards its twelfth week of testimony.

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