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Holmes Conviction Bodes Badly for Ex-Theranos President at Trial

Jan. 4, 2022, 3:53 AM

Elizabeth Holmes’s criminal conviction doesn’t bode well for her alleged co-conspirator and ex-boyfriend, former Theranos Inc. President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

The guilty verdict for Holmes makes it “extremely unlikely Balwani will be acquitted” when he goes on trial in February on the same charges, said Chris Slobogin, a law professor at Vanderbilt University. “Their actions are too closely bound together to imagine any other result.”

Ramesh Balwani appears in federal court for a status hearing in San Jose, California in 2019.
Photographer: Kimberly White/Getty Images

The Theranos founder’s jolting, disturbing allegations that Balwani verbally and sexually abused her figured prominently in her testimony. While prosecutors are highly unlikely to bring up those claims, they almost certainly will show Balwani’s jury the hundreds of text messages and emails between the two, which the government argues make them inextricably linked in the alleged fraud.

Jeffrey Coopersmith, Balwani’s lawyer, declined to comment. Balwani has denied the abuse allegations and has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded patients and investors in the blood-testing startup.

Many of the more than two dozen witnesses at Holmes’s trial linked Balwani -- sometimes more deeply than her -- to the same alleged lies at the heart of the government’s case about how the capabilities of the company’s technology were over-hyped to lure hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.

Read More: No. 2 at Theranos Wants to Tell His Jury of Mother’s Blood Test

The government might even take some cues from Holmes’s defense: She blamed Balwani’s financial modeling for producing falsely optimistic revenue projections that investors testified they relied on.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski at kporzecansk1@bloomberg.net

Peter Blumberg

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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