Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team in downtown San Jose, California on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
Nhat V. Meyer / Getty Images
Ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes could try to defend herselfby claiming that she was psychologically, sexually and emotionally abused by former Theranos president and boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, and that because of her submissiveness, she believed that allegedly fraudulent statements she had made were true Court records unsealed on Saturday.
Holmes “alleges a decade-long campaign of psychological abuse” by Balwani, which involved “monitoring their calls, text messages and emails; physical violence, such as throwing hard, sharp objects at them; restrict their sleep; monitor their movements; and insist that every success she has achieved is thanks to him, “said a file held by Balwani attorneys, who called the charge” outrageous. ”
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Holmes, the file says, “planet evidence that Mr Balwani verbally vilified her and withdrew his affection for displeasing her, controlled what she ate, how she dressed, how much money she could spend, with whom she could interact – essentially dominating her and obliterating her ability to make decisions. ”
Bothin connection with the blood test startup Theranos. In the middle of the last decade, Holmes received a lot of attention and was touted as “the next Steve Jobs” before the company .
The newly uncovered filings by Balwani attorneys and Holmes attorneys were originally filed under lock and key between late 2019 and mid-2020, the Wall Street Journal reported, and related to whether Holmes and Balwani, who were jointly accused of fraud, tried separately.
Balwani’s attorneys argued that the abuse allegation would affect the jury against him. Holmes’ attorneys alleged that Balwani’s presence in the courtroom would affect their ability to participate in the trials. The judge granted separate trials: Holmes’ is due to begin September 7th, jury selection begins this Tuesday. Balwani’s is planned for next year. The documents were unsealed after a legal challenge by the publisher of the magazine.
In one of the unsealed files, Holmes lawyers said she was likely to testify and “tried … evidence … various representations were true.”
Potential third party statements would relate to “whether and how Ms. Holmes’ psychological reactions during and after the relationship were and are compatible with typical reactions of victims of an abusive relationship”.
Holmes lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday, nor did Balwani’s lawyers. In their file, Balwani’s lawyers called the abuse allegations “deeply offensive to Mr. Balwani, personally devastating and, in this case, highly and unfairly detrimental to his defense.”
It is not certain that Holmes will pursue the mental health defense, the Journal noted, adding that her strategy could change at any time during the process.