Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Won’t Go To Jail Tomorrow After All

Picture credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will not go to jail tomorrow to begin serving an 11-year sentence, as the WSJ first reported. Although earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila denied her request to remain free while she appeals her conviction, this week she asked the Ninth Court of Appeals directly of the United States Circuit if she could stay out of jail while her case progresses through appeals. process; the request automatically puts its report date on hold while the court considers its claim, the Journal says.

It’s just the latest twist in a Silicon Valley story that has captivated the wider business world and even led to an Emmy-winning limited series titled “The Dropout” on Hulu.

In January 2022, after a nearly four-month trial, Holmes was found guilty of four counts of fraud and conspiracy related to Theranos, her failed blood testing startup. At his sentencing hearing in November last year, Judge Davila ordered him to ‘surrender’ on April 27, 2023.

Denying Holmes’ earlier request to remain free while she appeals her conviction, Judge Davila wrote that although Holmes presented “clear and convincing evidence that she would not flee”, he does not believe that raised a “substantial question of law or fact”. to result in “the quashing or an order for a new trial of all counts”.

Former Theranos president and COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani – who was also convicted last year of defrauding the company’s investors and patients – had also asked the Ninth Circuit to he could remain free while he challenges his conviction. His offer was rejected three weeks later, but the move allowed him to push his own surrender in a low-security prison in San Pedro, California, from mid-March until last Thursday, April 20.

While it’s unclear whether this will have any impact, on Monday an association of criminal defense attorneys urged the Ninth Circuit to order a new trial for Holmes, saying prosecutors had circumvented rules of evidence and proceedings by disclosing the identity of a witness – Kingshuk Das, a former clinical laboratory manager at Theranos – just five weeks before the government’s opening arguments in the trial. They argue that the move was a violation of Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which seeks to give defendants enough time to prepare their defense.

Holmes has two children under the age of two. Prior to this latest development, she had to turn herself in to the U.S. Marshal’s office and then be transferred to a federal prison. The court reportedly recommended Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, about 100 miles from Houston, where Holmes partly grew up and continues to have family.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the minimum-security facility has dormitories for its approximately 550 inmates, has a low staff-to-inmate ratio, and is “work and program-oriented,” according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford in 2003 to build Theranos, has won widespread acclaim in the business press for developing technology she says could test hundreds of conditions with just a prick of blood. Investors also believed Holmes’ claims, providing more than $400 million in funding to the company and attributing it a valuation of $9 billion.

That narrative began to shatter in 2015, after a series of WSJ articles revealed that its technology was not working as advertised. In June 2018, Holmes and Balwani were both charged with criminal fraud; soon after, the company announced to shareholders that it would officially dissolve.

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