Unable to pay her lawyers in an Arizona fraud lawsuit,
The former chief executive of
In a less closely-watched civil suit in Phoenix, Holmes dialed into an audio feed for an important hearing Thursday without a lawyer, telling the judge she wouldn’t make any arguments, according to an attorney at the proceeding who declined to be identified discussing sensitive matters.
Her lawyers in the Arizona case quit in September, saying she hasn’t paid them, and it’s highly unusual for a defendant of Holmes’s stature in such a suit to not be represented by an attorney, prompting some speculation on her financial situation.
Following the spectacular collapse of her company, she agreed to a $500,000 fine to resolve a civil
Holmes is probably marshaling her resources for the criminal case, said
“If there’s only so much money to go around, staying out of prison is always priority number one, period,” Portanova said. “Lawsuits seek only money, not imprisonment.”
Holmes, whose net worth was estimated at $4.5 billion before Theranos cratered, hasn’t publicly disclosed any financial hardship. But lawyer
“Ms. Holmes has not paid Cooley for any of its work as her counsel of record in this action for more than a year,” Dwyer wrote in the court filing. “Given Ms. Holmes’s current financial situation, Cooley has no expectation that Ms. Holmes will ever pay it for its services as her counsel.”
Dwyer and lawyers at
To retain a criminal defense team from a top-flight firm, Holmes may have been required to make a sizable down payment, according to
“It’s possible that she paid Williams & Connolly a large retainer up front that its lawyers are now ‘earning,’” McQuade said in an email.
In San Jose, Holmes is fighting charges that she and former Theranos president
In the Arizona case, customers claim that Theranos, the two executives and the startup’s one-time partner, the
Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
At the Thursday hearing that Holmes joined by phone, U.S. District Judge
At the start of the session, Holland asked Holmes if she wanted to make any arguments. Holmes responded that she’s relying on the arguments made by lawyers for her co-defendants, according to the attorney at the proceeding.
“It’s possible to try to enjoy the benefits of the defense as presented by co-defendant’s counsel,” Portanova said.
The consumer lawyers, meanwhile, may have their own motivation to continue pursuing Holmes regardless of how much they think she’s currently worth, Portanova said.
“The civil lawyers could simply be making sure that they don’t miss a future opportunity to collect.”
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