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Holmes to face maximum of 80 years in prison when she’s sentenced in September

Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California, on December 17, 2021.
Enlarge / Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California, on December 17, 2021.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Elizabeth Holmes’ trial was delayed for months, and now her sentencing will be similarly held up. The judge in her trial scheduled the hearing for late September.

US District Judge Edward Davila’s order, issued yesterday, set sentencing for September 26. He also set aside June 16 to address motions that Holmes’ attorneys are likely to file in which they may ask for the conviction to be reversed or for a new trial.

Holmes was convicted earlier this month of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The jury was hung on three counts, which prosecutors moved to dismiss in a filing made jointly with Holmes’ attorneys. The former CEO of Theranos was acquitted of the remaining charges of wire fraud against patients.

While she is likely to receive prison time for defrauding investors, she will be able to spend the next eight and a half months out on bail. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the four counts she was convicted of, though it’s unlikely that she’ll be sentenced to all 80 years.

Holmes has been out on bail since June 2018, when she and alleged co-conspirator Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were charged. Both were released after posting $500,000 bonds and surrendering their passports. Now that Holmes has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing, her bond will have to be secured by property. Their trials have been repeatedly pushed back, first because of the COVID pandemic and then later because Holmes gave birth.

Part of the reason Holmes’ sentencing has been postponed is because the government still has to prosecute its case against Balwani. Initially, Holmes and Balwani were to be tried together, but the judge ordered separate trials after Holmes’ attorneys revealed that, in her defense, she would accuse Balwani of abusing her. “Such testimony would be unfairly prejudicial to codefendant Mr. Balwani such that he will be denied a fair trial unless his trial is severed from Ms. Holmes’s trial,” Davila wrote. Balwani has denied the claims of abuse.

Holmes’ attorneys pursued that tack aggressively, and while jurors believed that she had been abused, they did not feel that it influenced her decision to commit fraud.

Balwani’s trial, initially scheduled to begin next month, has been pushed back to mid-March due to the current wave of COVID cases across the country. Opening statements will begin on March 15.

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