In a bombshell revelation simply days earlier than her felony fraud trial, protection attorneys for Elizabeth Holmes declare she’s suffered a “decade-long marketing campaign of psychological abuse” from her former boyfriend and enterprise companion Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.
“Balwani’s management included monitoring her calls, textual content messages, and emails; bodily violence, comparable to throwing exhausting, sharp objects at her, limiting her sleep, monitoring her actions; and insisting that any success she achieved was due to him,” protection attorneys for former Theranos CEO Holmes wrote.
The revelation is contained in paperwork unsealed early Saturday morning by U.S. District Decide Edward Davila. Holmes met Balwani when she was 18 – he joined her blood-testing startup, Theranos, in 2009 as president and chief working officer. The pair, who’re every going through 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy, later admitted in deposition tapes that they by no means informed traders of their relationship.
Each have pleaded not responsible and deny any wrongdoing in reference to what federal prosecutors name a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud traders, docs and sufferers.
Attorneys for Holmes plan to “introduce proof that Mr. Balwani verbally disparaged and withdrew ‘affection if she displeased him;’ managed what she ate, how she dressed, and the way a lot cash she may spend, who she may work together with – primarily dominating her and erasing her capability to make choices,” in response to the unsealed filings.
“Ms. Holmes’ allegations are deeply offensive to Mr. Balwani, devastating personally to him,” Jefferey Coopersmith, an legal professional for Balwani, wrote within the filings.
The paperwork additionally reply the query of whether or not Holmes plans to testify. “Ms. Holmes is more likely to testify herself to the explanation why she believed, relied on and deferred to Mr. Balwani,” her attorneys wrote.
The filings additionally reveal that Holmes plans to argue she suffers from psychological well being points, together with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, intimate-partner abuse syndrome, nervousness and melancholy resulting from her relationship with Balwani.
Balwani vehemently denied the allegations, citing them as a motive for his request for a separate trial, which was granted. Coopersmith writes that Holmes’ allegations “to ascertain her innocence would require him to defend in opposition to not solely the federal government’s case, however to defend in opposition to her allegations as nicely as a result of her allegations are so inflammatory that they can’t be left unrebutted earlier than the jury.”
Attorneys for Holmes additionally requested to separate their trials, saying she “can’t be close to him with out struggling bodily misery.”
“She argues that if she is tried along with Mr. Balwani, she is going to probably undergo stress and bodily illnesses that may manifest visually, such that she is not going to seem to the jury in her true sense.”
In 2020, Davila agreed that they’d be tried individually. The information have been unsealed in response to a movement by writer Dow Jones, a transfer that protection attorneys for Holmes and Balwani tried to dam till after jury choice.
Separating the trials is a method many authorized analysts have stated was an essential ruling for Holmes.
“What it permits a defendant to do is to level, at trial, on the empty chair,” Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. legal professional and NBC Information authorized analyst, stated. “To inform the jury that is the actual unhealthy man right here, it was all him, and have the jury discover some sympathy with that story and acquit Elizabeth Holmes.”
McQuade stated this will go each methods, including “in fact at his trial the place you may have a special jury attempting the case, he may do the identical factor to her. Level to her empty chair and say it wasn’t Sunny, it was Elizabeth.”
Attorneys for Holmes and Balwani didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark.
Jury choice for Holmes’ trial begins on Tuesday.
—CNBC’s Scott Cohn contributed to this report.