Why is Elizabeth Holmes not in prison? When would she have to start her sentence?
Elizabeth Holmes is trying to stay out of prison while she appeals her conviction. The judge overseeing the case said he will consider her request.
Once hailed as “the next Steve Jobs”, the founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of deceiving investors about the capacity of the medical company’s technology last year. In November, the judge overseeing the case sentenced her to 135 months in prison but delayed her incarceration date until 27 April in light of the fact that she was pregnant with her second child at the time.
The 39-year-old has now given birth to her child and is hoping that she can remain free on bail until the appeal of her conviction has played out. On Friday, US Federal District Court Judge Edward Davila heard arguments from her attorneys saying that she is not a flight risk although prosecutors disagree. Davila said that he would consider the arguments and rule on them in April.
Holmes’ defense team and prosecutors also disputed the government’s request that the disgraced Theranos CEO repay defrauded investors nearly $900 million. Her Silicon Valley blood-testing start-up claimed that a device it was developing could detect a range of diseases with just a few drops of blood from a finger prick. However, everything began to unravel after a bombshell article was published by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.
Elizabeth Holmes appeal could take years
The Theranos founder and her business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was also her romantic partner when they were running the medical technology start-up, were both convicted of fleecing investors. He was found guilty on twelve counts related to the fraud and sentenced to twenty years. She was found guilty on four counts, three for fraud and one for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and given eleven years and three months.
Holmes has maintained her innocence throughout the court process. Her legal team claims that the conviction was the result of a number of mistakes during the trial, which will allow them to overturn decision on appeal.
In the course of issuing the request her team have emphasised Holmes’ good behaviour while being free on bail for the past four years. They claim that she does not represent a flight risk and so should be allowed to remain free until the appeal is settled. Her legal team claims that she is “highly motivated to continue complying with her conditions of release so that she can work with her lawyers while she pursues her appeal”.
Federal prosecutors have claimed that Holmes is a flight risk. In January 2022 she bought a one-way plane ticket to Mexico, scheduled just three weeks after she was convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges. However she has maintained that the tickets were purchased by her partner to attend a friend’s wedding in Mexico and that the trip was cancelled as soon as prosecutors informed her lawyers of the “unauthorized flight”.