Lost between the holiday and Happy New Year merriment were two year-end court filings by legal teams for Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, who hope to stay free for at least part of 2023.
Elizabeth Holmes: In a joint filing on 30 December, Federal prosecutors and Holmes’ defense requested a hearing by Judge Edward Davila of the District Court on Holmes’ request to remain free on bail until her appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is resolved. In the filing, the prosecutors agreed to file their objections to her freedom by 19 January. Holmes’ defense had filed her three-page appeal on 3 December with 10 reasons why there should be a new trial. The full legal brief is due on 3 March. Both prosecution and defense had requested that the hearing by Judge Davila take place on 17 March.
Holmes was convicted on four counts of defrauding investors, with her sentence of 11 years and three months taking place on 18 November 2022. She remains free on bail until 27 April, her surrender date. The US Bureau of Prisons has not made public where she will spend her sentence. There is also a question of restitution of $121 million yet to be decided in court. SiliconValley.com
Sunny Balwani: His appeal was filed on 20 December, on the two-week deadline after sentencing, also in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unlike Holmes, Balwani was convicted on 12 counts, including two counts of patient fraud. The appeal reportedly will be on the grounds of Judge Davila’s rulings and decisions adverse to Balwani during the case. Other possible factors: the weakest counts are the two on patient fraud where testimony and proof were indirect–Balwani had little to do with patients–and that he left in 2016 before the collapse. His sentence was 12.9 years (155 months). Like Holmes, his restitution is yet to be decided. Balwani is currently free on bail, with his surrender date 15 March. No motion to remain free on bail while the appeal is in progress has been disclosed, nor the Federal prison location decision. Yahoo!Finance
For those craving a recap of l’affaire Theranos and perhaps to reflect on it, Yahoo!Finance has produced an hour-long video documentary, ‘Culture of Hype’, on Theranos as a product of Silicon Valley culture. It was produced before their convictions and sentencings. It ends with discussion of how the multiple conflicts between an admittedly naïve founder vision, transparency, and the need to finance said vision in multiple iterations in any startup or early stage company can lead to borderline executive behavior and company collapse. (And yes, your Editor has seen it happen firsthand.) Was Elizabeth Holmes a victim, a sociopath, or something in between? She will have time to contemplate it, as this Editor continues to maintain that her chances of reversing her conviction and going free are as small as that nanotainer she is modeling above.