ELIZABETH Holmes will reportedly accuse her ex-boyfriend of sexual and emotional abuse as she stands trial next week for defrauding patients and investors.
The businesswoman is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud after allegedly lying to investors and patients about what Theranos’ technology could do
Holmes founded the blood-testing company Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19, but investigators found its technology did not work as advertised.
A Wall Street Journal article lifted the lid of the company's alleged shortcomings in 2015, leading to its closure in 2018.
Holmes and former Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, 56, allegedly scammed $700million out of investors.
The magnate now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $3million if convicted – but newly unsealed legal filings in her case reveal she plans to defend herself by arguing that her ex-boyfriend emotionally and sexually abused her, impairing her state of mind at the time of the alleged crimes, reports NPR.
The 37-year-old intends to pin the blame on her former partner Balwani, according to documents released on Saturday.
Balwani has been charged in a separate fraud trial, due to take place next year.
According to her attorney's submissions to the court, it looks likely Holmes will to the stand and testify at her imminent trial.
Holmes is reportedly preparing to argue that Balwani manipulated and abused her by describing how allegedly controlled what she ate, how she dressed, and who she spoke with.
She plans to say that her ex monitored her phone calls and messages and would become violent by throwing "hard, sharp objects" at her.
Court papers also show Holmes intends to accuse Balwani of sexual abuse.
In a filing, lawyers for Holmes wrote: "This pattern of abuse and coercive control continued over the approximately decade-long duration of Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani's relationship, including during the period of the charged conspiracies."
They are set to call a psychologist as a witness – Mindy Mechanic, an expert in intimate partner abuse who evaluated Holmes for 14 hours.
Holmes intends to argue that as a result of alleged abuse, she suffers mental conditions including PTSD and depression.
Filings reveal that Balwani's lawyer Jeffrey Coopersmith has branded Holmes' allegations as "salacious and inflammatory".
"Ms. Holmes' allegations are deeply offensive to Mr. Balwani, devastating personally to him," he wrote.
Jury selection begins on Tuesday for Holmes' trial in San Jose, California – which is expected to be months long.
Prosecutors had to delay the trial after her lawyers told the government she was pregnant on March 2 and requested that the judge postpone jury selection until August 31.
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