Now that it’s been a whole year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, it might seem extra hard to remember anything from the before times. Remember bars? Remember hugs? Remember...Theranos? Well, the law hasn’t forgotten about Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, who is still awaiting trial in her fraud case.
Holmes lucked out when the pandemic started last year because she was able to evade her initial trial date, which was pushed back from October 2020 to 13th July 2021, and with it the continued public scrutiny for being one of the most fascinating scammers of our generation. Now, she may be in luck yet again.
In a court filing on 2nd March, Holmes’ lawyers requested a six-week delay for her trial because, as it turns out, she is pregnant with a July due date. The status report was filed by Holmes’ attorneys and federal prosecutors in the San Jose US District Court. Because of her pregnancy, the defence and prosecution have both agreed to request a delay to the start of the trial, with jury selection scheduled to begin in August.
But let it be known that this is not the first attempt to delay the trial. In a request from December 2020, Holmes' team noted that the pandemic presented a “great inconvenience to victims who would like their day in court, as well as Defendant who wishes a speedy opportunity to defend against the charges.” The trial was then delayed for the second time.
Holmes is facing a dozen felony charges after she was accused of lying to investors and patients about Theranos’ technology, which was allegedly worth $9 billion (£6bn) in 2015. The company claimed it could use just a few drops of blood from a finger prick to test for a full range of health conditions. However, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that the company was not using its technology on all the tests it was offering, and employees said they didn’t trust the machine’s accuracy. Theranos instead used commercial analysers from outside companies to run the tests.
The company also partnered with Walgreens and Safeway, who adopted tests from Theranos before Holmes and her partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, were exposed for fraud in 2015. The two were both charged in March 2018 and indicted on nine counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each facing a maximum sentence of 20 years if found guilty. Both Holmes and Balwani have denied the allegations.
Holmes can only delay her trial so many times before she inevitably sees her day in court — but there's no telling what she might come up with next.