With few options left but one last legal reprieve available, Elizabeth Holmes has avoided having to report to prison tomorrow, but she likely won't avoid it for long.
It shouldn't be too surprising that attorneys for convicted Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes have pulled out one last legal gambit to garner her a few extra weeks of civilian life before prison. And, like her co-conspirator Sunny Balwani before her, Holmes filed one last appeal late Tuesday to the Ninth Circuit, automatically delaying her reporting date. But this is actually the second time Holmes has appealed to the Ninth Circuit in the last week.
Holmes's attorneys filed a 132-page appeal of her conviction and sentencing last Monday, claiming that the jury's guilty verdict in January 2022 was "unjust," and that the prosecution had "parroted the public narrative" of the case. Then, yesterday, they filed a second appeal, appealing a lower court's denial of a request to delay her reporting date. As the Associated Press reports, "Holmes’ lawyers on Wednesday informed U.S. District Judge Edward Davila that she won’t be reporting to prison as scheduled because she had filed an appeal of a decision that he issued earlier this month ordering her to begin her sentence on April 27."
Judge Davila rejected Holmes's appeal of her conviction on April 10.
Balwani, who was sentenced to two more years in prison than Holmes — he got 13 years, she got 11 and four months — reported to prison last Thursday. He had previously appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which bought him three extra weeks before the appellate court denied his appeal.
The Ninth Circuit still hasn't had time to deny Holmes's first appeal — which they very likely will — and now there is this second appeal, so it's unclear how much time this may buy her.
In the latest appeal, as NBC News reports, Holmes's attorneys argue that Judge Davila's ruling rejecting her conviction appeal contained "numerous, inexplicable errors," and included references to "patient fraud convictions." Holmes was convicted in January 2022 on four counts of defrauding investors, but jurors acquitted her on four counts relating to the defrauding of patients.
Holmes, who turned 39 in February, gave birth to her second child this past winter. She had appeared very pregnant during her sentencing in November, and this and her first child have been used repeatedly in court filings to argue for delays and leniency in her sentencing, and to garner sympathy from Judge Davila. She and her attorneys spent much of last year trying to stave off her sentencing, at one point using a strange incident involving a prosecution witness — a former lab director at Theranos — to argue for a new trial.
Judge Davila recommended that Holmes serve her time at a minimum-security facility in Bryan, Texas — likely at the request of her own attorneys — but the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has yet to publicly confirm that this is where she is due to report.
The Ninth Circuit now has until May 3 to respond to Holmes's motion.
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)