Elizabeth Holmes on the stand
Source: Vicki Behringer
SAN JOSE, CALIF. — In emotional and at instances tearful testimony on Monday, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes accused ex-boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was additionally the corporate’s president, of a sample of bodily and psychological abuse, together with compelled intercourse.
Holmes, 37, took the stand for her fourth and last day of questioning by her protection attorneys, with the prosecution subsequent up in what’s certain to be a heated cross-examination. Holmes faces 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her position on the blood-testing firm, which collapsed in 2018, a couple of years after being valued at $9 billion..
While Holmes talked about Balwani dozens of instances in her prior three days of testimony, the subject of abuse did not come up till Monday afternoon, because the protection homed in on a central declare it made simply forward of the trial. Her attorneys wrote then that Holmes suffered a “decade-long campaign of psychological abuse” by the hands of Balwani.
Holmes instructed jurors on Monday that for the last decade they have been collectively, Balwani persistently criticized her work ethic, “mediocrity” as an entrepreneur and the truth that she “came across as a little girl.” Physical abuse would comply with, she stated.
“He would get very angry with me and then he would sometimes come upstairs to our bedroom and force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to because he wanted me to know that he still loved me,” stated Holmes, sometimes preventing again tears.
When requested how Balwani’s habits affected her relationship with her household, Holmes stated it was significantly damaging.
“I saw them less than I’d ever seen them before and I spoke to them less than I had ever spoke to them before,” she stated. “Because I was trying to focus all of my time on the company. Sunny would get very upset if I was with my family. He said it was a distraction to the business.”
Jeffrey Coopersmith, Balwani’s lawyer, declined to remark.
Sunny Balwani, former president and chief working officer of Theranos Inc., leaves federal court docket in San Jose, California, Oct. 2, 2019.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images
During the trial’s first 11 weeks, the prosecution referred to as to the stand former lab administrators, sufferers, medical doctors, enterprise companions and traders, in addition to journalist Roger Parloff, who wrote the 2014 Fortune journal cover story, “This CEO Is Out For Blood.”
The prosecution rested on Nov. 19, and later that day the protection shocked the courtroom in calling Holmes as a witness. The Stanford University dropout and former Silicon Valley wunderkind may spend as much as twenty years in jail if she’s convicted. She pleaded not responsible.
Balwani, who’s 20 years older than Holmes, faces the identical expenses and might be on trial at a later date. He additionally pleaded not responsible.
Holmes began Theranos in 2003. Balwani joined six years later and, till his departure in 2016, served as Holmes’ second-in-command. In testimony final week, Holmes stated Balwani was in control of working the corporate’s labs and dealing with monetary projections.
Holmes instructed jurors on Monday that she met Balwani in China. She was 18 on the time, and he was 38.
“I understood that he’d been a really successful business person, that he worked with Bill Gates in the early days of Microsoft,” Holmes stated. “I talked to him about wanting to start a company, and a company that I tried to build in high school and I asked for his advice.”
While she was learning at Stanford the next faculty yr, Holmes stated Balwani would e mail her. Holmes dropped out of Stanford her sophomore yr to work on firm that grew to become Theranos.
Kevin Downey, Holmes’ lawyer, requested if there have been different causes she left Stanford.
“I was raped,” a crying Holmes stated. (Police businesses instructed CNBC that they’d no file of a report underneath Holmes’ identify.)
She was then requested in regards to the have an effect on that have had on her life.
“I was questioning what, how I was going to be able to process that experience and what I was going to do with my life,” she stated. “And I decided I was going to build a life by building this company.”
Downey requested Holmes whether or not she talked to Balwani in regards to the incident. Holmes stated she did and that, “He said that I was safe now that I had met him.”
During the prosecution’s case, Holmes was painted by a sequence of witnesses as Theranos’ undisputed chief and the individual singularly liable for all of its key choices. She picked board members, met with traders and organized enterprise conferences with potential companions.
‘I wanted to kill the individual I used to be’
While she acknowledged in her solutions to the protection that a few of her habits was subpar, similar to adding drugmaker logos to Theranos lab reports, Holmes insisted that she didn’t intend to mislead patients or investors.
Now Holmes is asking jurors to believe that, for at least a decade of that time, she was under the influence of Balwani.
“He told me I didn’t know what I was doing in business, that my convictions were wrong, that he was astonished at my mediocrity, that if I followed my instincts I was going to fail and that I needed to kill the person I was to become what he called a new Elizabeth that could be a successful entrepreneur,” Holmes said.
She added that Balwani insisted that she work seven days a week if she wanted to be successful and that she only spend time with people who can help with the business.
“He would tell me not to sleep much, eat only foods that would make me pure and would make me have the most energy possible in the company,” she said.
Downey read a text from Balwani to Holmes, dated Nov. 30, 2013, that said, “when ur family is here I feel very lonely.”
Holmes provided the jury with the backdrop for the text.
“He’s angry with me because he felt when my family came for Thanksgiving he felt neglected,” she said. “This is one of the nights where he, crying, came upstairs and did things to me that I didn’t want and hurt me.”
Downey asked Holmes if she sometimes took notes “after Sunny forced intercourse with you.”
Holmes said she did and referenced a note from February 2015. She said that in the note, “I’m reacting to one of those incidents and I’m writing about the fact that I couldn’t move and couldn’t sit up and that I was lying there swollen and I couldn’t understand why I was hurting myself, why I wasn’t leaving.”
She added, “He had taught me everything that I thought I knew about business and I thought he was the best business person I knew. I think that I didn’t question him in a way that I otherwise would have.”
Holmes said her view started to change in 2016. That’s when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services came in for an inspection, after a sequence of tales from the Wall Street Journal uncovered Theranos’ false guarantees and technological deficiencies.
“I had gone into that inspection thinking that we had one of the best labs in the world and the findings from that inspection were so fundamentally different than what I had believed,” Holmes stated.
She stated that following the failed inspection, she employed two lab administrators and introduced in different lab consultants, all to the dismay of Balwani, who left the corporate quickly after these choices.
“He wasn’t who I thought he was,” Holmes stated. “And I realized if I was going to fix the issues and allow the company to see through its potential I had to do that without him in the company.”
Still, Holmes stated, in response to a sequence of questions by her lawyer, that Balwani did not drive her to make any statements to traders, enterprise companions or journalists about Theranos.
Downey requested, “What impact, if any, did your relationship with Mr. Balwani have on your work at Theranos?”
“I don’t know,” she stated. “He impacted everything about who I was and I don’t fully understand that.”
At the shut of Downey’s questioning, Holmes was requested in regards to the worth of the corporate. She stated it had been value $9 billion. Holmes owned 50%, giving her a web value of about $4.5 billion, she stated, matching the worth ascribed to her by Forbes Magazine in 2015. A yr later, these shares have been nugatory.
Holmes instructed Downey that she had an opportunity to promote her inventory to new traders who have been related to varied board members. When requested if she ever bought, she stated no.
“I didn’t want to,” she stated. “I believed in the company and I wanted to put everything that I had into it.”
“Do those shares have any value now?” Downey requested.
“No,” Holmes stated.
The court docket went into recess shortly earlier than 4 p.m. California time. The authorities’s cross-examination will start Tuesday morning.
Holmes tried to make eye contact with every of the jurors as they filed out of the courtroom. Most didn’t take a look at her.
WATCH: Elizabeth Holmes takes the stand for the third day