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Judge Rejects Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes’ Three Requests for a New Trial as Sentencing Looms

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves federal court with her legal team after a status hearing on July 17, 2019 in San Jose, Calif. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves federal court with her legal team after a status hearing on July 17, 2019 in San Jose, Calif. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

A judge has rejected Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ requests for a new trial in her wire fraud case, saying a witness who showed up at her home in August has credibly stood by his trial testimony.

A 15-page order from U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila said even if statements from ex-Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff “carried the implications” that Holmes’ lawyers say they do, “they would nonetheless be either immaterial to the issues or cumulative of evidence already presented at trial.”

The order follows a 75-minute evidentiary hearing on Oct. 17 in which Rosendorff was the lone witness. He answered questions about his mysterious Aug. 8 visit to Holmes’ home, and his ensuing conversation with Holmes’ partner, William Evans, in their driveway, and how it relates to his testimony in the trial that ended with Holmes convicted of three counts of wire fraud.

Davila said Rosendorff’s “post-trial statements are too vague and general to imply that any specific testimony was actually false or misleading.” He pointed to Rosendorff’s testimony in the evidentiary hearing “that he does not in fact believe that the government had ‘made things seem worse than they were,’ a position that he repeated on three different occasions.” And even if Rosendorff didn’t have a chance to tell his full story on direct examination, “that does not ipso facto mean the government presented false or even misleading testimony.”

The order also rejects Holmes’ new trial requests over statements a prosecutor made in his closing argument in the trial of Holmes’ co-defendant Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani in which he said Balwani had “a lot of influence” over Holmes. Davila said the statement wasn’t newly discovered, nor is it likely to result in acquittal.

“Contrary to Defendant’s characterization, the closing remarks in question do not profess a ‘newly discovered’ or changed government opinion but instead present the same (albeit complex) relationship from different perspectives,” Davilla wrote. “Defendant’s motion for new trial can be denied for her inability to meet this first step.”

The judge also rejected Holmes’ argument that she deserved a new trial because prosecutors refused to produce certain emails relating to the government’s efforts to recover a database Holmes believes could have helped her defense. Davila concluded Holmes hasn’t shown prosecutors withheld the emails “and, even if they had been disclosed, there is not a reasonable probability that Defendant’s trial would have turned out any differently.”

Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18 in Davila’s San Jose courtroom.

Read the full order here.

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.