Elizabeth Holmes plans to claim at trial ex-boyfriend and Theranos business partner abused her

Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO and founder of Theranos arrives at the U.S. District Court House in San Jose, California, for a motion hearing.
Defense attorneys for Elizabeth Holmes revealed that she suffered "decade-long psychological abuse" from Ramesh Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and business partner. This revelation came just days before Elizabeth Holmes' criminal fraud trial.

"Balwani controlled her calls, texts, and emails. He also monitored her physical violence such as throwing sharp objects at her or restricting her sleep. He insisted that she had achieved any success because of him," Holmes, defense attorney for ex-Theranos CEO, wrote.

This revelation was made public by documents that Edward Davila, U.S. District Judge, released early Saturday morning. Holmes first met Balwani in her 18th year. He joined her blood-testing startup Theranos in 2009 as chief operating officer and president. They are both facing 10 wire fraud charges and two conspiracy counts, but they later confessed in deposition tapes that they had never disclosed their relationship to investors.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing.

According to unsealed filings, Holmes' attorneys plan to "introduce evidence Mr. Balwani verbally disregarded and withdrew his 'affection' if he displeased her; controlled what she ate, how and how much she could spend, who could she interact with, essentially dominating and erasing the capacity of her to make decisions."

Jefferey Coopersmith wrote that "Ms. Holmes’ allegations are deeply offensive for Mr. Balwani and devastating personally to him."

These documents answer the question whether Holmes will testify. Her attorneys wrote that Holmes would likely testify to herself about the reasons she believed, relied upon and deferred Mr. Balwani.

According to the filings, Holmes also plans to claim that she has mental health issues including intimate-partner abuse syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety due to her relationship to Balwani.

Balwani denied all allegations and requested a separate trial. Coopersmith wrote that Holmes' accusations "would require him to defend not only against the government's case but also against her allegations because they are so inflamatory that they cannot be ignored before the jury."

Holmes' lawyers also requested that their trials be separated, stating that Holmes "cannot be near" him without experiencing physical distress.

She argues that she will suffer stress and other physical ailments if she is tried with Mr. Balwani. This will make it difficult for her to appear in her truest sense before the jury.

Davila and Holmes agreed in 2020 that they would be tried individually. In response to Dow Jones' motion, the records were unsealed. This was a move defense lawyers for Holmes and Balwani attempted to block until after jury selection.

Many legal analysts agree that Holmes's important decision to separate the trials was a good one.

"What it allows a defense to do is point at the empty chair at trial," Barbara McQuade (an ex-U.S. attorney) said. "To tell the jury who's really bad here, it was all him and to have the jury find sympathy with that story and acquit Elizabeth Holmes."

McQuade stated that this can happen both ways and added, "Of course, at his trial, where you have another jury trying the case," that he could do the exact same thing to her. Point at her empty chair and tell her it wasn't Sunny. It was Elizabeth.

CNBC reached out to Holmes and Balwani's attorneys for comment but they did not respond immediately.

On Tuesday, Holmes' trial will begin with jury selection.

This report was contributed by Scott Cohn, CNBC.