- Her lawyers argued that changing the trial order would’ve ‘fundamentally changed’ the evidence jurors learned about the former Indian American president’s role in the fraud.
Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes appealed for a new trial claiming that she was at a disadvantage by being tried before her ex-boyfriend and Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. In a motion filed in a federal court in San Jose, California, her lawyers argued that “changing the trial order would’ve ‘fundamentally changed’ the evidence jurors learned about Balwani’s role in the alleged misrepresentations to investors. It would probably have resulted in an acquittal on the counts of conviction,” Bloomberg News reported.
A day earlier, Holmes’s lawyers had demanded a new trial, because a key witness had “shown up disheveled” at her home last month, “apparently remorseful over his testimony against her,” according to a Mercury News report. That witness was former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff.
Holmes was found guilty this January on four charges of defrauding investors for her role in building the blood-testing startup into a $9 billion company that collapsed in scandal. A few months later, in July, her ex-boyfriend and former president of the company, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, was found guilty of 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Holmes and Balwani were charged in 2018. According to the indictment unsealed on June 15, 2018, the pair had engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients, and both schemes entailed promotion.
Holmes had founded Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old college dropout and was hailed and celebrated as a Silicon Valley whiz-kid. The company was aiming to revolutionize medical laboratory testing through allegedly innovative methods for drawing blood, testing blood, and interpreting the resulting patient data to improve outcomes and lower health care costs.
While Holmes was the face of the company, Balwani’s influence was felt in all areas of the company and was “instrumental in building a billion-dollar house of cards that duped both investors and patients,” as reported by Axios.
At her own trial, Holmes’ defense team tried to cast Balwani as being behind any fraud at Theranos. She also accused Balwani of emotionally and sexually abusing her, which apparently compromised her judgment during the time of the alleged crimes. Holmes made the accusations during her much-anticipated testimony on Nov. 29, 2021, in an attempt to refute accusations that she lied about a flawed blood-testing technology, which she had touted as a breakthrough. She blamed Balwani for allegedly exploiting, using and misleading her.
Balwani, a technology entrepreneur, had already made millions before meeting Holmes and becoming involved in Theranos, as documented in Hulu’s “The Dropout,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Holmes. For the acquisition of CommerceBid, Sunny Balwani received $40 million. He helped launch the software development company CommerceBid in 1998, which was created to help organizations buy and sell commodities over the Internet, which was then gaining popularity. CommerceOne, a business-to-business e-commerce company that used auctions to connect companies with their suppliers, had its first trading day after going public in July 1999.
When he met Holmes, Bаlwаni was a mаrried man. After selling his shаres, he returned to school, аnd enrolled at the University of Cаliforniа, Berkeley, During а 2002 Beijing trip as part of Stanford University’s Mаndаrin progrаm, he met 18-yeаr-old Holmes while а student. He аnd Holmes, who were reportedly mаrried аt the time, didn’t stаrt dаting until 2003 when he earned his MBA аnd she dropped out to pursue Therаnos. In 2005, the couple shаred а home.
Holmes is expected to be sentenced later this month, and Balwani in November.