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Elizabeth Holmes, once a Silicon Valley darling who's now facing fraud charges in connection with her biotech company, is pregnant, which will likely delay her summer trial.
Holmes is accused of defrauding numerous investors while she was CEO of Theranos. She claimed the company had developed groundbreaking blood-testing technology that could run a wide swath of medical analysis from just a few drops of blood. It promised to revolutionize the way people interacted with the health care system, and investors bought into the hype, with the firm's valuation reaching $9 billion, according to CNN.
But the much touted device never materialized and federal prosecutors accused Holmes and former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani of knowingly duping investors. She was indicted in 2018 on multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and her trial was due to begin on July 13.
However, news of her pregnancy appears to have changed the timeline of the trial, which has already been delayed three times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“On March 2, 2021, counsel for Defendant advised the government that Defendant is pregnant, with an expected due date in July 2021,” court documents filed on Friday state. “Both parties agree that, in light of this development, it is not feasible to begin the trial on July 13, 2021.”
Both Holmes and Balwani, who each face nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, could be sentenced to 20 years behind bars if convicted.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Holmes’ legal team has reportedly been planning to use Holmes’ mental health as part of her defense strategy. They previously wrote that they want to bring up evidence “relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing on…[...] the issue of guilt,” CNN reported last year. Holmes' legal team apparently booked Dr. Mindy Mechanic, a psychology professor at California State University, Fullerton, to testify. Mechanic specializes in trauma, interpersonal violence, violence against women, and the psychological effects of those experiences, her university biography states.
Balwani's trial has been scheduled to begin in January 2022.
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