Just a few days remain before Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, is charged with criminal fraud. Newly unsealed court records (via NPR), reveal evidence her lawyers might cite in her defense.
Theranos claimed that it had developed revolutionary blood testing technology that could produce amazing results with just a few drops of blood. Theranos was valued at $9 billion when reports revealed its flawed results and the use of modified machines from other companies to conduct crucial testing. In 2016, the company was shut down and federal prosecutors indicted Holmes and Balwani (pdf), two years later, for wire fraud. They listed investors and patients as their victims.
Elizabeth Holmes legal team stated that she is very likely to testify
This brings us to 2019, and 2020, when lawyers filed these documents to try to seperate the defendants. These documents are now public thanks to a Wall Street Journal challenge (pdf).
According to CNBC, Holmes lawyers claimed that she and Balwani, who were 20 years older than Holmes and first met Holmes as a Stanford student aged 18, had been in an abusive relationship for more than ten years. They monitored her calls and text messages; used physical violence such as throwing sharp objects at her and restricting her sleep. He also made sure that she didn't move.
Although it is not clear what strategy Holmes will use in defense, the Wall Street Journal reports that Holmes' lawyers suggested that Holmes would testify regarding Balwanis abusive behavior. Balwanis lawyers filed separate lawsuits, deniging the allegations of abusive behavior. They also claimed that her allegations would prejudice potential jurors. Jeffrey Coopersmith, his lawyer, said that Ms. Holmes allegations are extremely offensive to Mr. Balwani and devastating to him personally.
Holmes lawyers have submitted documents that show that they have collected testimony from experts and are arguing that she has PTSD, in-partner abuse syndrome and depression as a result of Balwani and other incidents. According to the Wall Street Journal filings, they could argue that she believed different representations to be true because of her respect for Mr. Balwani.
The jury selection process for Elizabeth Holmes' trial will begin Tuesday in San Jose. Balwanis' trial is scheduled to start in 2022.