Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes's arguments for new trial deemed spurious – just like her tech

Federal judge won't revisit fraud case, sets a date for sentencing instead

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of debunked blood-testing startup Theranos, will be sentenced next week after a federal judge denied her request for a new trial.

In January 2022, Holmes, 38, was convicted on charges of wire fraud and defrauding investors. Her lawyers, however, argued she deserved a fresh trial when key witness Adam Rosendorff, former lab director at Theranos, showed up at Holmes's house and admitted "he felt that he had done something wrong, apparently in connection with [her] trial" according to court documents [PDF].

Rosendorff told Holmes's partner William "Billy" Evans that he thought everyone at Theranos had worked hard and hinted at potential government misconduct in the trial. Holmes filed three separate requests for a new trial. 

"Dr Rosendorff's statements reflecting his concerns with the government's presentation of his trial testimony, along with his comments that bear on Ms Holmes' intent, put the integrity of the jury verdict against Ms Holmes in grave doubt. The Court should grant a new trial or, at the very least, order an evidentiary hearing," the convicted fraudster's lawyers argued.

Rosendorff was pressed further about his comments to Evans last month, and disputed the idea of government misconduct. He said he believed the government's investigation was comprehensive and had not cherry-picked evidence to support the case against Holmes.

District Judge Edward Davila later ruled [PDF] "the statements Dr Rosendorff made to Mr Evans do not stand for any of the proposed meanings that Defendant would want and, even if they did, they would not be material to the issues at trial or otherwise non-cumulative" and denied Holmes's request for a new trial.

Holmes claimed Theranos's COO and ex-boyfriend Sunny Balwani influenced her work, and psychologically and sexually abused her during their relationship as part of her defense. Her lawyers tried to argue that new material supporting Holmes's case appeared when federal prosecutors admitted Balwani exerted "a lot of influence over" her during his own trial. 

Davila, however, said this did not warrant a new trial since the comments did not count as new evidence and it would not likely result in her acquittal anyway.

Holmes will be sentenced on November 18 and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Balwani was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy and ten counts of wire fraud also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years; he is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7. ®

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