Can Elizabeth Holmes’ Domestic Abuse Defense Work in Theranos Fraud Trial? | Analysis

The disgraced leader faces an uphill battle, but ”there’s a lot of things going for her as a defendant,“ one expert says

Once celebrated as a rare young female entrepreneur in the biotech industry, former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes kicked off her criminal trial this week with an unusual defense based on domestic abuse and mental health suffering at the hands of her former business and romantic partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

Attorneys for Holmes, who faces 12 criminal counts of fraud and conspiracy for lying to investors and others about her now-dissolved company’s blood-testing technology, said last year they planned to raise her mental condition as part of their defense. Recent documents show they may now introduce evidence against former Theranos COO Balwani for emotionally, sexually and psychologically abusing her. (Balwani, who is awaiting a separate trial next year, has vehemently denied the abuse claims.)

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Antoinette Siu

Media and Tech Reporter • • Twitter: @antoinettesiu