Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who was set to face wire fraud charges in criminal court on July 13, revealed in a filing late Friday that she’s pregnant.
As a result, prosecutors and her defense attorneys are requesting the presiding judge, Edward Davila to delay the start of her trial by six weeks (August 31).
“On March 2, 2021, counsel for Defendant advised the government that Defendant is pregnant, with an expected due date in July 2021,” prosecutors said in a joint statement with Holme’s attorneys. “Both parties agree that, in light of this development, it is not feasible to begin the trial on July 13, 2021.”
Some will no doubt interpret this development as a calculated move on the part of Holmes’s legal team, considering past efforts made to soften her callous-big wig persona.
These efforts include attempts to bar testimony detailing Holmes’s lavish spending, and motions made to introduce evidence “relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing on the issue of guilt.”
Dr. Mindy Mechanic, a clinical psychology professor at California State University Fullerton, is reportedly being sought to testify to corroborate Holmes’s purported mental health concerns.
Judge Davila has allowed prosecutors to conduct their own evaluation of Holmes’s mental health and be examined by their own appointed psychologist and psychiatrist.
Six weeks provides her and her legal team ample time to redefine the narrative in the midst of an unflattering media cycle.
A delayed trial would also aid the prosecution, however. Even with the damning testimony of a former Theranos laboratory director at their disposal, Holmes’s pregnancy may incentivize a jury against a maximum sentence.
Not long after the launch of Theranos, the $9 billion biotech company propelled Holmes as one of the most successful magnates in the country.
The company claimed to have manufactured a novel method of testing blood that could produce conclusive analysis from small volumes. Internal documents suggest that the technology required to support this outcome was not consistent with clinical testing results.
Holmes, as well as her one-time partner and former president of Theranos, Ramesh Balwan, could be facing up to 20 years in prison.