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Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of medical technology startup Theranos, returned to court on Friday to argue that she should be released on bail while pursuing an appeal on fraud and conspiracy charges transfer.
Once the darling of Silicon Valley, Holmes was convicted 11 years in prison last year after a jury found she had defrauded investors of more than $100 million over a blood-testing device that didn’t work as advertised.
Upon sentencing in November, Holmes was ordered to turn herself in by April 27, a deadline widely considered to be in line with the birth of her second child.
During Friday’s hearing in federal court in San Jose, Calif., Holmes and her attorney asked Judge Edward Davila to delay that deadline until her appeal is concluded, a process The process can take many months.
Davila said he expected to issue a ruling in early April. The judge will also consider whether Holmes should pay restitution.
Holmes, 39, founded Theranos when she was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. The company promises that its technology can screen patients for diseases with a blood sample taken from a finger, rather than a whole blood sample.
Holmes attracted nearly $1 billion in investments even when the technology didn’t work as claimed. Its results are often faulty, and the company often relies on commercially available blood analyzers to conduct its tests.
Finally, a series of reports by The Wall Street Journal attracted the interest of government investigators, leading to her indictment of fraud and conspiracy in 2020.
In January 2022, the jury found her guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her 11-year prison sentence followed in November.
Usually, once a person has been found guilty and sentenced to prison, they must pursue any appeal from the prison. To be released on bail while the appeal is ongoing, a defendant has a high bar for clarity.
In general, they must convince the court that they are not at risk of absconding and that their appeal is serious — which means it will raise legitimate concerns that the previous trial could change significantly. result.
Holmes’ attorney argued that she was not a flight risk
In court documents, Holmes’s lawyers cited multiple reasons why they said she was not in danger of absconding. Among them: She made no attempt to renew her expired passport, which is currently being held by the court, and the collateral for her $500,000 bond is her only home her parents, they said.
In addition, Holmes was “a mother of two very young children,” they wrote. Both of her children were born following her indictment in 2020.
Prosecutors responded that the court facilitated her motherhood by setting a “generous” deadline in April to turn herself in – nearly six months after she was sentenced. in November – because she became pregnant after the guilty verdict.
Prosecutors wrote: “While facing these felony felony charges at trial and awaiting the verdict of the Court, Defendant lived on a property with more than $13,000 in monthly expenses to maintain it. maintained and had two children with her current partner.”
And they pointed to a one-way plane ticket to Mexico booked by Holmes last year, scheduled to depart days after a jury found her guilty.
In response, Holmes’ lawyers explained that her partner had booked that ticket – “before the verdict and full of hope” that she would not be found guilty – to attend the wedding of close friends. . They said the ticket was canceled after government lawyers protested, adding that “Mrs Holmes never attempted to flee.”