Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty on four out of the 11 federal charges brought against her, but what about her partner? Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Holmes’ alleged co-conspirator and ex-boyfriend was set to go to trial this month, but it has now been pushed to February.
The Theranos Scandal
Holmes is the former CEO and founder of Theranos, a failed blood-testing start-up. She was found guilty on four charges of defrauding investors, not guilty on three additional charges of defrauding investors, and not guilty of one charge of conspiracy to defraud patients. The jury did not return a verdict on three more of the fraud charges and the judge is expected to declare a mistrial on those counts.
Balwani is the former president of Theranos and, during Holmes’ trial, became a major person of interest. She claimed that Balwani verbally and sexually abused her, manipulating her into any possible crime or fraud. The pair met in 2002 on a Chinese-language immersion trip. Balwani was 37, while Holmes was 18. The pair started dating soon after and then began work on Theranos together.
How Will Holmes’ Trial Affect Balwani’s?
Holmes’ guilty verdict does not bode well for Balwani’s own trial. According to Chris Slobogin, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, the outcome of Holmes’ trial makes it “extremely unlikely Balwani will be acquitted” when he goes on trial. “Their actions are too closely bound together to imagine any other result.”
While Holmes’ accusations of abuse will most likely not be brought up in the case against Balwani, the texts between the two will. The hundreds of text messages and emails between Holmes and Balwani make them inextricably linked in the alleged fraud, according to the government’s legal team.
In the texts, some dating back to 2014, the relationship between the pair is by turns romantic and angry. Holmes calls Balwani her “king” and a “tiger,” saying that “this is our year.” As the years passed, the messages got terser. In 2015, Balwani said, “I worked for 6 years day and night to help you. I’m sad at where you and I are. I thought it would be better.”
Over two dozen witnesses at Holmes’ trial connected Balwani to the same alleged lies about Theranos’ over-hyped claims. The government’s case against Balwani will likely also borrow from Holmes’ own case, where she argued that Balwani’s financial modeling produced false optimistic revenue projections that investors testified they relied on. We’ll continue to check in as the trial gets going.