She once led a $14b company but is now on trial for fraud, claiming her ex, who was also on the leadership team, subjected her to emotional abuse.
Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes closed the final day of testimony in her criminal fraud trial by once again cursing her ex-boyfriend and former Number Two executive, alleging that his emotional abuse allowed her to run the company. reduced capacity.
The former CEO, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, blamed Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for the deception at Theranos, even though he admitted he was the final decision maker.
Holmes, 37, took the stand before the defense rested on Wednesday, questioning his lawyer Kevin Downey and portraying Balwani as a Swangali who took advantage of his youth and inexperience.
“Who was the most important mentor to you?” asked Downey.
“Sunny was there,” replied Holmes, who has spent seven days testifying in his defense, denying that he made millions of patients and investors while building a faulty testing device to enrich himself. Got cheated
Holmes also told the jury that he “tried not to ignite” Balvani, who served as president and chief operating officer of Theranos, in his correspondence, which was often by text message.
Courtroom sketch of Elizabeth Holmes holding a handkerchief over her mouth and nose as she testifies
“Sunny would often blow off steam or vent via text,” Holmes said. “I was trying to be helpful.”
Downey asked Holmes if Balvani criticized Theranos employees as “incompetent”.
“She did,” Holmes said, noting that Balwani was also critical of her performance.
Holmes, who had been romantically involved with Balwani for more than a decade, said their break-up was “a process”.
“He showed up at the church I’d go to at night and at Dish, where I used to run around Stanford,” Holmes said. “The places I would go out of work.”
A key part of Holmes’ defense has been to blame 56-year-old Balwani, who Holmes claims physically, emotionally and sexually assaulted her. Balwani has denied these allegations. They are being tried separately next year.
Earlier in her testimony, Holmes told the jury that a Stanford University student during the rape prompted her to drop out of school and build herself a company. She testified that when she later began dating Balwani, “she said I was safe now that I met her.”
But, she went on, Balvani reportedly perpetuated a cycle of abuse in which she controlled all aspects of her life, including the way she steered Theranos.
Holmes – about 20 years younger than Balwani – testified that Balwani taught her the way she behaved and spoke, and inspired her to adopt a strict daily schedule as well as a strict diet.
Holmes claimed, “He told me I didn’t know what I was doing in business, that my beliefs were wrong, that he was amazed at my mediocrity and that if I followed my instincts, I would fail.” would go.”
She said she said that “I was not the person who would be successful in life or business, so I needed to kill that person and become a new Elizabeth.”
Holmes cried, “He’d force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to because he said he wanted him to tell me he still loved me.”
After an incident in which Balwani allegedly forced her to have sex, Holmes wrote in a document recorded on his iPhone: “There’s literally nothing to enjoy about it or who would I be if I did.” It hurts so much. How much. Can’t concentrate on anything except why? Why am I hurting myself? Can’t even move, let alone do sit-ups or really Far from getting up and sitting down. Lying swollen. Literally.”
Balwani’s grip on Holmes was broken in 2016, when the Wall Street Journal published a disclosure questioning Theranos’ claims about its blood-testing equipment. Holmes testified that an internal laboratory inspection in 2015 that she read in 2016 detailing the dangers of Theranos products to patients was her wake-up call.
Balwani left the company in 2016 after Holmes brought in outside consultants and lab directors.
In the final moments of his testimony on Wednesday, Holmes reiterated that he never intended to mislead investors, even though he admitted that they lost money during his reign.
“I wanted to change the impact of the company on people and health care,” Holmes said. “There were people who were long-term investors and I wanted to talk about what this company could do a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now.”
Final arguments in the trial are expected to begin on December 16.
This story originally appeared on New York Post and is reproduced here with permission