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- Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is asking a judge to grant her a new trial or reduce her prison sentence.
- Holmes’ attorneys claim she was unfairly barred from citing “compelling evidence” of her innocence.
- She’s currently set to begin serving her 11-year prison sentence next week.
Elizabeth Holmes truly believed in her company’s blood-test technology and was unjustly barred from submitting “compelling evidence” that would have bolstered her defense, attorneys for the former CEO of Theranos claimed in a court filing on Monday, arguing that she deserves either a new trial or a reduced sentence.
In 2018, Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former president and her ex-boyfriend, were charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and accused of defrauding investors who backed the company and what it billed as a revolutionary new way of quickly and accurately testing a small sample of blood.
Holmes, 39, is due to begin her sentence on April 27 after a judge last week denied her request to remain free while she appeals her conviction. At the time her punishment was handed down, Holmes told the court, through tears, that she was “devastated by my failings” and “felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them.”
But in the brief filed Monday with the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Holmes’s attorneys claim her original trial was flawed, producing an “unjust” conviction and a “severe” prison sentence. They argue that she was unjustly barred from citing Balwani’s testimony in her own defense.
“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. Balwani was convicted on 12 counts and sentenced last December to 13 years in prison.
Holmes’s defense team also argued that testimony from Theranos’ former lab director, Dr. Adam Rosendorff — that the company’s technology was “uniquely problematic” — improperly influenced the court, citing the fact that Rosendorff was not cross-examined and questioned about failings in other labs at which he worked.
For those reasons, the court “should reverse the conviction and remand for a new trial or, alternatively, remand for resentencing,” Holmes’s lawyers wrote.
Holmes has made several attempts to throw out her conviction, or to delay or reduce her sentence, in the past year. In May, her attorneys asked the judge to overturn her conviction, saying there was “insufficient evidence” for any “rational juror.” In November, after the judge denied three requests she made for a new trial days before she was due to be sentenced, she asked for 18 months under house arrest instead of prison time, with her attorneys arguing she had been “mocked and vilified” enough.
Read Elizabeth Holmes’s appeal in full: