Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former executive director of Theranos, arrives for a hearing in the U.S. District Court in the Federal Building of Robert F. Peckham in San Jose, California on Monday, November 4, 2019.
Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images
She was a billionaire CEO whose luxurious lifestyle rivaled that of a movie star.
Elizabeth Holmes employed personal assistants to do her luxury shopping, traveled by private jet, stayed in exclusive hotels and drove an expensive SUV.
As the CEO of Theranos, she was constantly in the spotlight. Her defense attorneys are now facing a range of fraud allegations and jails and don’t want their rich past to be played out in the courtroom – they say it will affect a jury.
“The amount of money Ms. Holmes made in her position at Theranos, how she spent that money, and the identities of the people she is associated with simply have no bearing on Ms. Holmes’ guilt or innocence,” wrote her lawyers A motion was filed late Friday night.
Before her fall, Holmes was once named the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one of the unicorn startups in Silicon Valley – with a private value of $ 9 billion.
The government claims Holmes “had her Theranos-paid assistants run personal errands, do personal chores and buy luxury goods.”
In the motion, defense attorneys allege that the prosecution’s motivational argument was based on the assumption that Holmes’ luxurious lifestyle may have motivated them to “commit fraud in order to acquire or maintain that lifestyle”.
“Many CEOs live in luxurious homes, buy expensive vehicles and clothing, travel luxuriously, and work with famous people – as the government claims Ms. Holmes,” they wrote.
During her jet-setting days, Holmes wore her signature black turtleneck to numerous media appearances and appeared to hold the key to revolutionizing the expensive healthcare system.
Holmes promised that Theranos could diagnose anything from diabetes to cancer with just a drop or two of blood. The company closed in 2018 after an investigation by the Wall Street Journal exposed its unproven technology and dubious business practices.
What followed was a crash for Holmes who defrauded billionaire investors, board members and Walgreens.
Holmes and her co-defendant Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani are charged with a dozen criminal offenses. The trial is expected to begin March 9 in the US District Court in San Jose, California.
“The jury should not face any dispute over the alleged purchase of luxury travel,” good wine “or” delivery of groceries to her home “by Ms. Holmes,” said Holmes’ lawyers.
Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.