Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes received a reprieve from a scheduled prison sentence on Monday after the judge in her case delayed her sentencing for up to three months.
Holmes, found guilty in January of four counts of criminal fraud in connection with her failed start of blood tests in Palo Alto, was due to be sentenced Oct. 17 in U.S. District Court in San Jose.
But in August, a key prosecution witness – former Theranos lab director Dr. Adam Rosendorff – showed up at her home. According to Holmes’ partner Billy Evans, who is the father of their one-year-old son, Rosendorff said he felt “guilty” and “like he had done something wrong”. The doctor allegedly told Evans that while he was on the witness stand during Holmes’ trial, “he tried to answer questions honestly, but the prosecutors tried to make everyone look bad (in the company)” and that the accusation “made things worse”. than they were.
Holmes’ legal team argued that Rosendorff’s statements indicated federal prosecutors may have been at fault with the lab’s former director, and they demanded that Judge Edward Davila overturn the verdict. of the jury or arrange a hearing to deal with the matter. Holmes’ attorney, Lance Wade, on Monday raised the issue of whether federal prosecutors “got a false narrative” from Rosendorff before the jury.
Prosecutor John Bostic countered that granting a hearing would be “allowing a fishing expedition” by Holmes’ lawyers. “There was no such misconduct, so this evidence will not be found.”
Bostic argued that an affidavit made by Rosendorff after visiting Holmes’ residence showed that his trial testimony was true.
Davila agreed to the defense’s request for a “limited” hearing which he said would deal with the allegation of possible prosecutorial misconduct. “This will not be a fishing expedition,” warned Davila Wade. “Really, what I want to know is, ‘Did (Rosendorff) tell the truth? “Davila said.
Holmes, filmed in a white-walled room wearing a blue blazer and white blouse, did not appear to show a significant response to the deferred sentencing. Legal experts expect her to be sentenced to several years in prison.
The jury found Holmes guilty of defrauding investors of the now-defunct Palo Alto blood testing startup, which she founded in 2003 when she was 19. accused of fraud. The case captured worldwide attention and spawned three documentaries, a TV series, a bestselling book and an upcoming movie starring Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes. Balwani was found guilty in July of a dozen counts of fraud.
Rosendorff, in testimony at his trial, said Theranos “enjoyed public relations and fundraising over patient care” and felt a moral obligation to make the inaccurate test results public. In response, a lawyer for Holmes sought to blame Rosendorff’s alleged “incompetence” for the company’s troubles.
After Rosendorff’s appearance at Holmes’ residence, prosecutors filed Rosendorff’s affidavit in court stating that he felt “compassion” for Holmes, and “even more” for his alleged family members. affected by his punishment. But, he added that he answered all questions in the witness box “fully, accurately and truthfully” and stood by his testimony.
“I have no reason to believe that the government has distorted or otherwise created a false impression about Ms. Holmes’ conduct at Theranos,” Rosendorff wrote.
The prosecution claimed that Holmes was trying to use Rosendorff’s visit as a “ticket for a new trial”.
On Monday, Bostic said Rosendorff, in his statement, “told us that he did not want to retract or question any of his testimony.”
But Holmes’ attorney Wade argued Monday that Rosendorff’s “carefully crafted” statement did not address “new issues” the doctor allegedly raised in his conversation with Evans. Wade called Rosendorff’s visit “amazing” and said it “suggests there’s more out there.”
Davila said Rosendorff’s statements indicated the doctor felt “personal grief” for his involvement in the case, testifying against someone he worked closely with. And Davila agreed with Bostic’s assertion that Rosendorff’s testimony was more relevant to the charges of defrauding patients, rather than investors, and that the jury acquitted Holmes of the patient-related charges.
Davila, a federal judge since 2011, said the appearance of a key prosecution witness at the home of a defendant they had testified against was news for him. “I haven’t seen any cases where that happened,” Davila said.
Davila set October 17 as the hearing date to bring Rosendorff to court and added that he did not expect the hearing to last all day. The judge gave both sides several options for a new sentencing date, “if a sentencing is necessary.” Possible dates, Davila said, were mid-November, early December or mid-January. Bostic told Davila there was a “public interest” in proceeding with sentencing as soon as possible.