Elizabeth Holmes Faces Sentencing After Request for New Trial Is Denied

Elizabeth Holmes’ motions for a new trial were denied by Judge Edward J. Davila on Monday, November 9, 2022. Holmes, the former CEO and founder of Theranos, was found guilty of defrauding investors earlier this year, and she now faces sentencing on Friday, November 18, 2022.

Holmes submitted three motions for a new trial. Each motion was based on a different set of newly discovered evidence. The first motion was based on post-trial statements allegedly implying government misconduct. The second motion was based on statements made during the government’s closing argument at Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani’s trial. The third motion was based on allegedly suppressed evidence related to the loss of Theranos’s Laboratory Information System database.

The first motion hinged on statements made by Dr. Adam Rosendorff, a clinical lab director at Theranos from April 2013 to November 2014. After Holmes’ trial, Dr. Rosendorff made statements to Holmes’ partner, William Evans, stating that “sometimes [he was not given] the opportunity to tell the full story with respect to a particular event at Theranos during [his] direct examination” and “with respect to some of that testimony, there was only a limited amount of information that came out during the direct examination.” Holmes argued that these post-trial statements “would have supported her defense theme that the government had cherry-picked evidence to present at her trial.”

Judge Davila noted that Holmes’ argument that a new trial should be granted “based solely on impressions the government had made on direct that defense counsel later rebutted on cross” was time barred by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(b)(2). Thus, Judge Davila’s analysis focused on “whether Dr. Rosendorff’s ‘newly discovered’ statements implicate any government misconduct.” Judge Davila ruled that Dr. Rosendorff’s statements “[did] not identify any trial testimony as being either false or misleading nor would those statements be likely to affect the jury’s judgment” such as to support a new trial.

The second motion focused on the government’s statements made during closing arguments at Sunny Balwani’s trial. During closing rebuttal arguments, the government stated that Balwani had “‘a lot of influence over [Holmes]’ in their relationship, thereby undermining [Holmes’] knowledge and intent with respect to her representations to investors.” Judge Davila denied this motion, ruling that the government’s closing rebuttal arguments “do not warrant a new trial under the Harrington test because they are not ‘newly discovered,’ not material, and not likely to result in acquittal.”

The third motion argued for a new trial based on the fact “that the government committed a Brady violation by refusing to produce certain emails relating to the government’s efforts to recover the LIS database.” At her trial, Holmes “did not pursue a defense blaming the government for failing to gather and preserve the LIS database.” Balwani, however, did pursue such a defense. During Balwani’s trial, the government was ordered to produce communications showing the government’s recovery efforts and, subsequently, the government produced eleven emails to both Balwani and Holmes. Holmes’ third motion for a new trial argued that the emails should have been produced to her earlier. Judge Davila denied this motion, ruling that “[Holmes] has failed to show that the government suppressed the LIS Emails and, even if they had been disclosed, there is not a reasonable probability that [Holmes’] trial would have turned out any differently.”

Holmes now faces sentencing on November 18th for three wire fraud charges and one charge of conspiring to defraud patients. Each of the three wire fraud charges carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Additional Reading

Judge denies disgraced former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ motion for new trial, CNBC (November 8, 2022)

Order Denying Motions for New Trial in USA v. Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes Found Guilty of Defrauding Investors, Justia Legal News (January 5, 2022)

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