Elizabeth Holmes’ attorneys are demanding that the disgraced Theranos founder be given a new trial or have her prison sentence reduced because they were prevented from presenting “compelling evidence.”
Attorneys for Holmes, who is scheduled to begin serving her 11.25-year prison sentence on April 27, claimed in new court papers that were filed on Monday that her trial resulted in an “unjust” conviction and a “severe” prison sentence.
Lawyers for Holmes — who was convicted of fraud over her company’s blood-testing technology — claimed that they were prevented from bringing up exculpatory statements from another convicted fraudster, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her former boyfriend who was also president of Theranos.
“Balwani’s testimony is compelling evidence corroborating Holmes’s defense that she did not intend to defraud investors with the financial projections or conspire with Balwani to do so,” the attorneys wrote in the court filing.
Balwani, who was convicted of several counts of wire fraud as well as defrauding investors, was sentenced this past December to 13 years in prison.
“The court abused its discretion by excluding prior testimony from… Balwani that he, not Holmes, was responsible” for duping investors into believing that Theranos was on the verge of a breakthrough at-home blood test that could diagnose illnesses.
Holmes’ lawyers claimed that “the court erred in holding that Balwani’s statements were insufficiently inculpatory.”
“The error prejudiced Holmes’ defense to this important allegation,” Holmes’ lawyers wrote in the court filing.
Her attorneys also claimed that the court was improperly influenced by testimony from Theranos’ former lab director, Dr. Adam Rosendorff.
Rosendorff testified that Theranos’ blood-testing technology was “uniquely problematic,” though Holmes’ lawyers argued that they were not permitted to cross-examine him about alleged failings in other labs in which he worked.
Holmes’s attorneys wrote in the filing that the court “should reverse the conviction and remand for a new trial or, alternatively, remand for resentencing.”
Theranos was the highly touted Silicon Valley tech startup that raised around $1.3 billion from several investors who were tricked into believing that its blood-testing technology that could diagnose illness through a finger prick was effective.
The publicity surrounding the claims of a breakthrough technology earned Holmes celebrity status that included favorable comparisons to tech trailblazers such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
Last week, a federal judge rejected Holmes’ bid to delay the start of her prison sentence.
US District Judge Edward Davila ruled that even if Holmes won her appeal challenging the admission of evidence regarding the accuracy of Theranos’ blood-testing machines, it was unlikely to result in a complete reversal or new trial in her case.
“Contrary to her suggestion that accuracy and reliability were central issues to her convictions, Ms. Holmes’ misrepresentations to Theranos investors involved more than just whether Theranos technology ‘work[ed] as promised.’” Davila wrote.
In his ruling, Davila addressed prosecutors’ claims alleging that Holmes was a flight risk because she and her partner, William Evans, had booked a one-way trip to Mexico weeks before the jury reached a verdict in her case.
“Booking international travel plans for a criminal defendant in anticipation of a complete defense victory is a bold move, and the failure to promptly cancel those plans after a guilty verdict is a perilously careless oversight,” the judge said in the filing.
In a January court filing, the feds described the trip as an “attempt to flee the country” and alleged that Holmes only nixed the plan after contact with prosecutors.
Holmes’ team pushed back, describing the claim as “baseless” and asking Davila to strike it from records. They said Holmes and Evans had booked the trip to attend a friend’s wedding.
As The Post reported, Holmes’ lawyers had cited the recent birth of her second child as evidence that she was not a flight risk. Holmes had been visibly pregnant during a failed earlier bid to throw out her conviction last year.
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