The disgraced Theranos founder’s $900 million fraud trial is facing another delay after Elizabeth Holmes revealed something unexpected.
Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous founder of now defunct blood-testing company Theranos, is pregnant, new court documents have revealed.
Ms Holmes is currently awaiting trial on multiple federal charges of fraud.
She is accused of defrauding more than $A900 million from high-profile investors including Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family – founders of Walmart – and tech billionaire Larry Ellison.
Holmes has always denied the claims, maintaining she is innocent.
However given her pregnancy and pending July birth date, both her lawyers and the prosecution have requested to delay the start date of her trial until August 31, 2021. Although the father has not been disclosed, Holmes reportedly married hotel-heir Billy Evans in a secret wedding in March 2019.
“The parties have met and conferred, and both parties agree that, in light of this development, it is not feasible to begin the trial on July 13, 2021, as currently scheduled,” read the filing.
“In light of Defendant’s pregnancy, the parties stipulate and agree, and respectfully request that the Court order, that the trial begin with jury selection on August 31, 2021.”
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While the embattled CEO’s fall from grace has been well documented, in Theranos’ heyday, Holmes’ success had earnt her the title of being America’s youngest billionaire.
With a well publicised phobia of needles, Holmes claimed Theranos had created a blood test which could detect a range of health concerns with just a single finger pinprick.
Lauded as the female Steve Jobs – with an inspired uniform of black turtlenecks to match – the company secured a $A450 million deal with US pharmacy chain Safeway in 2012, with another lucrative deal with Walgreens a year later.
In the next two years, Theranos would continue to grow from strength to strength.
The company achieved a valuation of nearly $US10 billion ($A14 billion) and Holmes would grace the cover of Fortune magazine, and land an interview will former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative.
By 2015, Holmes’ credibility began to crack.
Reports that Theranos had been generating false and unreliable results began circulating and Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou began investigating the company.
In 2018 he would author the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, with Jennifer Lawrence slated to play the notorious businesswoman in an upcoming film adaptation.
In late 2015, a report by the Food and Drug Administration exposed the company for shipping out uncleared medical devices.
Later in 2016, Forbes slashed its estimate of her personal net worth of $US4.5 billion ($A6.3 billion) to zero.
By June 2018, both Holmes and Theranos’ former president and chief operating officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani faced charges of wire fraud from the US Department of Justice.
Theranos was officially shut down in September 2018.
Now awaiting trial, Holmes faces a potential 20-year prison sentence and up to $2.75 million in fines. She continues to maintain her innocence.