Elizabeth Holmes Docs cites Dog’s death, “media criticism” in Leniency Notice

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes recently tried to argue that she should be sentenced to 18 months in prison for her conviction on four counts of investor fraud. Her sentencing is scheduled for Friday.

Holmes, 38, filed a leniency petition with US District Judge Edward Davila last week, and among the documents were letters from more than 130 friends, family members and former Theranos employees.

The high-profile trial of the biotechnology entrepreneur ended in January with her being found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by lying to investors. She was found not guilty on four counts related to defrauding Theranos patients, while the jury returned no verdict on three counts involving defrauding investors.

Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors are seeking a 15-year sentence. Former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, was convicted in a separate trial in July.

Elizabeth Holmes appears in court
Above: Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives at Robert F. Peckham US Federal Court in San Jose, California on June 28, 2019. Holmes recently filed a file containing a large collection of letters asking for leniency in her conviction for her investor fraud conviction.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Meteoric success saw Holmes become a prominent entrepreneur, and she has graced the covers of publications such as forbes, wealth and T: The Type Magazine of the New York Times. Her resulting downfall got her even more coverage and led to the 2022 Hulu miniseries The Dropout. She was portrayed by actress Amanda Seyfried, who won an Emmy Award for the project.

In her November 10 filing, Holmes argued she had been made into a “caricature intended to be mocked and slandered.” One of the many accompanying letters is from her partner, Billy Evans, who described Holmes as “honest, humble, selfless, and kind beyond what most people have ever experienced.”

Evans also mentioned the death of Holmes’ dog, Balto. He claimed the pet was “carried away by a mountain lion” from their porch and that Holmes was “crushed” to find the dog’s “lifeless body.”

Another letter that Holmes’ attorneys presented to the court came from Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Booker wrote that Holmes was “not only sincere in her interests, but a person who would actually work to make a positive contribution to the world outside of her company”.

The documents submitted by Holmes say that she feels remorse and that harsh public opinion of her should help keep her from jail.

“The incessant media criticism has resulted in Mrs Holmes being punished for the rest of her life,” her filing reads. “Ms. Holmes will never be able to find another job or meet a new friend without the negative caricature acting as a barrier.”

Prosecutors have since painted a much more damning portrait of Holmes. Prosecutors allege she manipulated regulators and the media and indulged in her fraudulent dealings by flying in a private jet and living in a luxurious mansion. They have asked the court to pay $804 million in damages, in addition to 15 years behind bars.

news week reached out to Holmes’ attorneys for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/elizabeth-holmes-leniency-bid-letters-dog-death-criticism-1760467 Elizabeth Holmes Docs cites Dog’s death, “media criticism” in Leniency Notice

Rick Schindler

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