Elizabeth Holmes Appeals Fraud Conviction, Insists Jury Acted Unjustly

Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, makes a final attempt to contest her fraud conviction, claiming the decision was “unjust”. The former Silicon Valley star’s legal team was back in court on Tuesday to present their final appeal in the federal court of San Francisco.

Doubts Raised Over “Golden Girl’s” Intent

Holmes, 40, was previously found guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy as of January 2022. She has consistently put efforts to prevent her 11-year prison sentence ever since. The narrative around Theranos’ disgrace, according to Holmes’ lawyers’ court filing as of November 2023, revolves around the accusation that Holmes knowingly endorsed malfunctioning technology.

This narrative, however, is one Holmes’ defence has fervently contested. “Holmes’ knowledge and intent on this crucial question were highly disputed at trial,”, the legal team wrote in their court filing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite this, legal analysts consider Holmes’ appeal doubtful at best.

Partner Balwani’s Conviction and Appeal

Adding to the drama, a jury also handed Holmes’ business and romantic partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, several counts of fraud. Balwani, sentenced to 13 years, awaits the hearing for his appeal on Tuesday as well. The spectacular downfall of both figures centres around the malfunctioning technology peddled by their company, Theranos.

Former federal prosecutor Agustin Orozco noted the challenging outlook for Holmes’ legal team. He stated, “The issues that Holmes’s legal team raised… are all difficult to win on appeal — it’s hard to win when you’re questioning the judge’s decisions post-trial.”

Theranos’ Failed Blood-Testing Tech

Holmes’ journey towards infamy started around 2015. The Wall Street Journal highlighted that the main product of Theranos – blood tests from a single drop of blood – was actually ineffective. The prosecution confirmed that Holmes was aware of this technical failure but continued to deceive investors with false claims.

Not only were investors duped, but the malfunctioning technology also had harmful real-world impacts. Several instances came to light during the trial, including a woman wrongly told she would miscarry, a man wrongly diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer, and another woman inaccurately informed she had HIV.

Holmes’ Unsuccessful Attempts at Appealing

Even after her conviction, Holmes put substantial work into avoiding jail time. She initially tried to claim the jury acted irrationally. Following that failed attempt, she sought a new trial by arguing that a crucial witness regretted his testimony.

Despite these attempts, she was compelled to begin her sentence on May 30, 2023. She is currently held at a minimum-security facility in Bryan, Texas.

Subsequent Developments

As Holmes continues her legal battles from behind bars, the story of Theranos’ downfall continues to captivate the public imagination. It serves as a stark reminder of the severe consequences of duplicity in the tech industry. As Holmes and her former partner, Balwani, face their appeals, observers will be watching closely for the final chapter in this high-stakes legal drama. The coming days promise more revelations as the lawyers lay out their cases and the court decides whether there is merit to Holmes’ claims of injustice.



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