Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes threw her criminal indictments and charges against the wall to see if she could get any to fall away, but they all stuck.
The Stanford University dropout, charged with a dozen felony counts of fraud over her defunct Palo Alto blood-testing startup, filed six motions in U.S. District Court in San Jose in late August, seeking to have indictments and charges thrown out.
On Tuesday, Judge Edward Davila denied all of them, paving the way for a trial scheduled in March.
To Holmes’ claim that her right to a speedy trial had been violated because federal prosecutors unreasonably delayed filing two indictments, Davila found the bulk of the delay resulted from her legal team’s request for more time before trial, with the coronavirus pandemic subsequently pushing that date further into the future.
Holmes’ lawyers had argued that holding a trial concerning events going back more than a decade means witnesses could be unavailable or have fading memories, Davila noted, but their argument was “too vague and speculative” to indicate her rights would be harmed, he wrote.
Also, Davila wrote, the matter is complex. “The case involves two fraud conspiracies with multiple victims, two co-defendants, and voluminous discovery,” he wrote. “The Court finds that the length of the delay was ‘not excessive’ in light of this complexity.”
Another of Holmes’ motions argued that a half-dozen charges should be thrown out because two later indictments broadened the charges against her, violating the statute of limitations, which governs the length of time that can pass between an alleged offense and the start of legal action. Because the charges in all three indictments against Holmes are “substantially the same,” however, Davila nixed the motion.
A third motion making similar claims about the statute of limitations failed on similar grounds. And Holmes’ motion to dismiss her two most-recent indictments, on the basis that in expanding the definition of investors they became impermissibly vague, also failed to convince Davila. “The Court is not persuaded that there has been any expansion in the definition of ‘investors,’” he wrote.
Holmes, who founded Theranos in 2003, is charged with allegedly bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars, and defrauding patients with false claims that the company’s machines could conduct a full range of tests using just a few drops of blood. She and her co-accused, former company president Sunny Balwani, have denied the allegations.
The next two motions Davila rejected had argued that some of Holmes’ charges duplicated each other and that the recent indictments violated a previous decision by Davila, while the third motion repeated previous claims he had ruled against.
Holmes faces a potential 20-year prison sentence, up to $2.75 million in fines, and possible restitution to investors the government alleges lost more than $700 million. The federal government has said that if she’s found guilty, it will go after any ill-gotten money or assets she may have. Plaintiffs in a separate civil case are seeking unspecified damages. Her trial is scheduled to start in March.
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment