By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of failed blood testing startup Theranos, who was convicted of fraud earlier this year, is seeking a new trial after claiming a key witness visited her home unannounced and reportedly said he “felt guilty” for his testimony.
In a filing Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, attorneys for Holmes said that Adam Rosendorff, a former director of the Theranos laboratory who was a key government witness, arrived at her home on August 8 to ask to speak. with her.
According to the filing, Rosendorff did not interact with Holmes but spoke to his partner Billy Evans, who recounted the exchange in an email to Holmes’ attorneys shortly after.
“His shirt wasn’t tucked in, his hair was a mess, his voice was shaking slightly,” Evans wrote of Rosendorff. According to Evans’ email, Rosendorff “said that when called as a witness, he tried to answer questions honestly, but prosecutors tried to make everyone look bad.”
The former Theranos lab director “also said he felt like he did something wrong,” Evans wrote.
During his testimony last October – which lasted more than six days – Rosendorff said he left the company feeling “very skeptical” about the accuracy and reliability of its tests. He testified that he felt it was “a matter of integrity as a doctor” not to stay with the company and continue to endorse test results he “did not trust”. He said he “came to believe that the company believed more in public relations and fundraising than in patient care”.
The former lab director was also revealed as a key whistleblower in the 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation that helped trigger the downfall of Holmes and Theranos.
Rosendorff and the federal prosecutors who tried the case against Holmes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In their Tuesday filing, attorneys for Holmes said Rosendorff’s conversation with Evans constituted new evidence warranting a new trial.
“Dr. Rosendorff’s statements reflecting his concerns about the government’s presentation of his testimony at trial, as well as his comments which bear on Ms. Holmes’ intent, cast serious doubt on the integrity of the jury’s verdict against Ms. Holmes,” they wrote. “The Court should grant a new trial or, at the very least, order an evidentiary hearing.”
Holmes was found guilty of four of 11 federal fraud and conspiracy charges in January after a months-long trial. Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, former president and COO of Theranos, who was also Holmes’ boyfriend at the time, was found guilty in July this year of 10 counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Their trials marked the final chapter for Theranos, a startup once valued at $9 billion and lauded for its promise to disrupt the healthcare industry. Theranos claimed its technology could accurately and efficiently test conditions such as cancer and diabetes with just a few drops of blood. With that pledge, he attracted $945 million in funding, a board of well-known political figures, and high-profile business partners.
Then came the Journal’s investigation of the company, which questioned the company’s testing methods and the capabilities of its technology. In 2018, Holmes and Balwani were each charged with a dozen counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Both have pleaded not guilty and will be sentenced later this year, with Holmes’s sentencing hearing scheduled for mid-October and Balwani’s due in mid-November.
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