A date has been set for the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, 35, who could face up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines for fraud.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila on Friday scheduled the criminal trial for Holmes and her former deputy and ex-boyfriend, Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, 54, for August 4 of next year, with jury selection kicking off the week before.
The pair face will face trial in federal court on charges that they lied to doctors and patients about test results and deceived investors about the finances of the now-defunct Silicon Valley blood-testing startup.
The trial is expected to last three months.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, 35, is set to go on trial next summer on charges of fraud. She is pictured at the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28 in San Jose, California
Holmes’ former deputy and ex-boyfriend, Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, 54, leaving the federal court on June 28 after a judge ordered their trial date
Holmes is facing decades in prison for defrauding investors and of deceiving doctors and patients. She is pictured at court on the day her trial was scheduled (left) and in 2015 (right), when she was the CEO of one of the most buzzworthy companies in Silicon Valley
Holmes and Balwani were indicted by a grand jury last June on 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Theranos, founded in 2003 by then 19-year-old Stanford dropout Holmes, raised more than $700 million from private market investors in what’s been referred to by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an ‘elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance’.
Prosecutors say Holmes and Balwani, who were once romantically-linked despite a 19-year age gap, claimed their revolutionary ‘Edison’ machine could provide patients with a comprehensive, accurate and cheap blood test by analyzing just a single drop of blood.
In reality, the technology was still years away from that — the machines actually had accuracy and reliability problems and performed limited tests.
The FBI has alleged that Holmes and Balwani endangered health and lives.
The charges also portray a scheme by the pair to swindle investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Theranos, once one of the most buzzworthy companies in Silicon Valley and valued at $9 billion, went under after its claims were proven to be phony.
It was shut down by the SEC in late 2018.
Theranos’ ground-breaking invention, a machine Holmes claimed could perform hundreds of tests on a drop of blood taken from a pin-pricked finger, was exposed as a humiliating sham
Holmes has apparently got married to William ‘Billy’ Evans, the heir to a hotel fortune who worked for the driverless car start-up Luminar Technologies (Holmes and Evans with Balto the husky)
Prosecutors said they have already provided more than two million pages of evidence to the defense teams and that there is more to come, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Despite ample evidence, Holmes, who was named by Forbes as the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2014, has maintained her innocence and entered a not guilty plea to all counts.
Her legal team plans to argue that the Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou, whose reporting led to the demise of the company, ‘had an undue influence on federal regulators,’ and ‘went beyond reporting the Theranos story,’ Bloomberg reported.
The reporter’s 2015 scoop and subsequent stories revealed Theranos was a threat to public health, and won multiple journalism prizes.
‘The jury should be aware that an outside actor, eager to break a story, and portray the story as a work of investigative journalism, was exerting influence on the regulatory process in a way that appears to have warped the agencies’ focus on the company and possibly biased the agencies’ findings against it,’ Holmes’ attorneys wrote, per Bloomberg.
Her defense team has also continued to argue over what information should be made available, saying they do not have fair access to documents.
The story of Holmes’ meteoric rise and fall was the subject of a best-selling book by Carreyrou, ‘Bad Blood’, and an HBO documentary entitled ‘The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley’.
It showed her disturbing ability to coolly deceive some of America’s wealthiest and most intelligent people and revealed a personality cult around Holmes.
She cultivated herself as the charismatic leader with her penchant for Steve Jobs-style black turtle necks and an uncanny baritone voice.
A Hollywood production starring Jennifer Lawrence as Elizabeth Holmes is reportedly in the works.
Despite facing up to 20 years in jail, Holmes reportedly got married in secret.
The 35-year-old alleged scammer recently got hitched to her hotel heir fiancé William ‘Billy’ Evans, 27, according to a friend of his.
His image-conscious parents were flabbergasted by their son’s engagement to Holmes at the beginning of the year, according to The New York Post.
‘His family is like, “What the f–k are you doing?” It’s like he’s been brainwashed.’ a colleague told the paper.
A relationship with Holmes ‘will destroy your social value,’ the colleague added. ‘But you will get something else in return’ – namely, fame.
Evans, for his part, reportedly told his friends: ‘The media has it all wrong about her.’
It is unclear what will happen to the lovebirds though should Holmes be sent to prison.