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Elizabeth Holmes must report to prison this month while waiting out her appeal, judge rules

<i>Jeff Chiu/AP</i><br/>Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes
Jeff Chiu/AP
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes

By Catherine Thorbecke, CNN

A judge on Monday denied Elizabeth Holmes’ request to remain free while she appeals her conviction, setting the stage for the disgraced Theranos founder to report to prison later this month.

In his order, Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California said Holmes does not pose a danger to the community or a flight risk, but he cast doubt on her appeal. Even if Holmes won her appeal, he said, it is unlikely to result in a reversal, or an order for a new trial, for all of the counts on which she was found guilty.

Davila previously ordered Holmes to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023.

Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison last November, after she was convicted months earlier on multiple charges of defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing startup Theranos. Attorneys for Holmes did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the ruling.

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and the former chief operating officer at Theranos, was also found guilty on multiple counts of fraud in a separate trial. He was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison last December. Balwani’s request to remain out of prison during his appeal was also denied, and he has been ordered by Davila to surrender to prison on April 20.

Once valued at $9 billion, Theranos attracted top investors and retail partners with claims that it had developed technology to test for a wide range of conditions using just a few drops of blood. The company began to unravel after a Wall Street Journal investigation in 2015 reported that Theranos had only ever performed roughly a dozen of the hundreds of tests it offered using its proprietary technology, and with questionable accuracy.

Holmes’ trial was initially delayed multiple times, due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and then because of her pregnancy. Following her sentencing in November, Holmes sought to delay the start of her prison term after giving birth to her second child.

While Davila denied Holmes represented a flight risk, he also addressed the fact that she had previously booked a one-way ticket to Mexico in January 2022.

“Booking international travel plans for a criminal defendant in anticipation of a complete defense victory is a bold move, and the failure to promptly cancel those plans after a guilty verdict is a perilously careless oversight,” Davila wrote in the court filing.

Holmes’ attorneys had previously claimed that Holmes had hoped the verdict would be different when booking the travel plans and that she wanted to make this trip to attend the wedding of friends in Mexico. Davila wrote in court documents that the court accepts Holmes’ “representation that the oneway flight ticket—while ill-advised—was not an attempt to flee the country.”

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