The federal judge who sentenced Elizabeth Holmes last fall to 11 years in prison heard arguments Friday morning on whether Holmes should have to pay restitution to Theranos investors, and on whether she will be able to delay entering prison.
Everyone assumed that Holmes and her lawyers would pull out all the legal stops to keep her out of jail come hell or high water, even after she convicted and sentenced last year — hell, she even pumped out a second kid in the meantime and they've been using that in their arguments.
But we're just a month and ten days from the date that Judge Edward Davila gave for Holmes to begin her sentence, April 27. And we don't yet know if he will show sympathy for her or her attorneys' arguments for why she should remain free pending an appeal of her case. Also, it seems likely that she will be on the hook for paying millions in restitution to investor-victims whom jurors believe were defrauded by Holmes and co-conspirator and ex-boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, but Davila has not ruled on restitution yet.
As the Mercury News reports, Friday was the day for Davila to hear arguments on both, and he concluded the hearing saying that he will rule on both the prison start-date and restitution during the first week of April — letting this be a nail-biter for Holmes, her fiance Billy Evans, and her parents.
Prosecutors have been pointing to a one-way ticket Holmes booked to Mexico last year in the weeks after her conviction as evidence that she is a flight risk — Holmes reportedly only canceled the ticket after it was noticed and called out by prosecutors. According to Holmes's attorneys, the ticket was to attend a friend's wedding, and she booked it prior to the jury verdict coming down, optimistically hoping she could take the trip.
But a one-way ticket? Evans reportedly took the trip on his own, and subsequently took a second trip to South Africa last winter, all while the couple had an infant at home.
Last week we learned that Holmes's legal team is trying to get her out of paying any restitution to victims at all, arguing that her actions did not necessarily encourage investors to invest their money in Theranos — even though that was the entire basis of her fraud conviction.
Prosecutors argue that she should pay $878 million in restitution.
Meanwhile, Balwani was scheduled to begin his 13-year prison sentence on Thursday, but he managed to get out of that at the last minute. As NBC Bay Area reported, Balwani's attorneys filed a last-ditch appeal of his conviction to the Ninth Circuit, which automatically triggered a stay of his sentence and prison report date.
It seems likely that Holmes's team will try something similar if Davila sticks with the April 27 date.
Top image: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes moves through security while on her way to court on March 17, 2023 in San Jose, California. Holmes is appearing in court for a restitution hearing. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)