Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes won’t testify in Sunny Balwani trial

Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes reportedly won’t be called to testify during the ongoing fraud trial of her former boyfriend and alleged co-conspirator Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

Holmes’ potential testimony in the case – months after she was convicted on multiple counts of fraud while running the failed blood-testing startup – was a source of speculation in recent days.

During an evidentiary hearing, federal prosecutor Robert Leach said Holmes “will not be testifying in this case,” according to Law360 senior reporter Dorothy Atkins, who was in attendance during the proceedings in San Jose, California.

Prosecutors have argued that Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operating officer, conspired with his ex-lover in a scheme to mislead investors about the effectiveness of the startup’s technology. Balwani faces 12 counts of fraud in connection to the case.

Balwani’s attorney informed the court that he plans to call two more witnesses to testify before resting his case, according to Atkins. Balwani is not expected to personally take the stand.

Federal prosecutors rested their case last month after weeks of proceedings that included testimony from 24 witnesses, the Wall Street Journal reported. The feds allege that Balwani was fully aware that Theranos was skewing details about its operations and worked closely with Holmes in the scheme.

“After Balwani joined the company, he and Elizabeth Holmes began making grandiose spectacular claims about Theranos’s capabilities and its accomplishments,” Leach said earlier in the trial.

Sunny Balwani — Theranos’ COO and Elizabeth Holmes’ ex-lover — faces 12 federal counts.
REUTERS

Balwani’s defense team has sought to distance their client from Holmes, arguing he joined Theranos in 2009, long after Holmes launched the startup, and was a key early investor who never sold his shares prior to its implosion.

When the claims fell short of reality, Leach argued, Holmes and Balwani “decided to deceive and cheat.”

Theranos once generated a $9 billion valuation as Holmes claimed the startup had developed a proprietary machine that could perform a variety of medical tests with just a few drops of blood. Holmes had been dubbed the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire by Forbes.

Theranos
Theranos collapsed after questions emerged about the legitimacy of its technology.
picture alliance via Getty Image

But the company’s downward spiral began after the Wall Street Journal published a series of reporters revealing the devices were producing inaccurate test results and could not measure up to Holmes’ claims.

In January, Holmes was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

Balwani’s trial has faced delays due to COVID-19 exposures.

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