Elizabeth Holmes Trial: Prosecutors to fight her bid to stay out prison before conviction

Federal prosecutors will fight Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ bid to stay out of prison while she appeals her conviction for felony fraud.

Holmes, pregnant and the mother of a young son, was given a reprieve after being sentenced in November in U.S. District Court in San Jose to more than 11 years in prison. In handing down her sentence, Judge Edward Davila deferred the start of Holmes’ incarceration until April 27 in a decision legal experts believe was intended to allow her to give birth before she’s locked up.

Convicted in January 2021 by a jury on four counts of defrauding investors in her now-defunct Palo Alto blood-testing startup out of more than $144 million, Holmes in December appealed the jury’s finding and Davila’s sentence. In a court filing, she claimed up to 10 reasons why she should be granted a new trial, saying the “complex, hard-fought, multi-month trial with numerous witnesses and hundreds of exhibits” left a court record “teeming with issues for appeal.” The filing highlighted Holmes’ acquittal on charges of defrauding patients who paid for Theranos tests.

Three days after filing her notice of appeal, Holmes asked Davila to allow her to remain free until the appeal is over, which legal experts believe could take more than a year.

On Friday, a joint filing between prosecutors and Holmes’ nine-lawyer team revealed that the prosecution plans to oppose her motion to remain free on bail until her appeal is over. The filing set Jan. 19 as the deadline for prosecutors to file the “Government’s opposition to (Holmes’) motion for release pending appeal.” The two sides have asked Davila to schedule a hearing on the matter for March 17.

Holmes is not an obvious flight risk or threat to public safety, former Santa Clara County prosecutor Steven Clark said But Clark added that government prosecutors may argue that she’s trying to delay her imprisonment and needs to start being held accountable for her crimes.

Holmes, a Stanford University dropout, founded Theranos at age 19. At its peak, the startup was valued at $9 billion, based on Holmes’ false claims that her technology could conduct a full range of tests using a few drops of blood. A series of Wall Street Journal exposés led to federal charges and the company’s 2018 demise.

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