SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The clock is ticking for Silicon Valley’s disgraced celebrity Elizabeth Holmes. The 39-year-old former Theranos CEO was ordered by a federal judge to report to prison by Thursday to begin serving an 11-year sentence for fraud.
Holmes’s defense attorneys, however, filed an 11th-hour appeal to her prison deadline that will keep Holmes out of jail for at least a few more weeks.
Holmes, 39, of Woodside, was once a self-made billionaire and a superstar in the Silicon Valley biotech industry. After Theranos whistleblowers alerted investigators that the company’s blood testing technology produced false results, prosecutors charged Holmes and her co-conspirator, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani with fraud and conspiracy in 2018.
They were convicted in separate trials in 2021, and Balwani began serving a 13-year prison sentence last week. But Holmes has yet to spend a night behind bars.
Judge Edward Davila, the federal judge who presided over Holmes’ trial in San Jose and sentenced her, previously denied Holmes’ request to remain free while her legal team appeals Holmes’ conviction. The conviction appeals process takes years to work its way through the courts.
This week, Holmes filed a motion asking the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals to overturn Davila’s ruling. The motion automatically triggered a delay for when she must turn herself in to prison.
Balwani made the same Hail-Mary legal move, and it helped secure his freedom for a few more weeks until the appeals court denied his motion. Balwani is currently an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island in San Pedro, California.
Holmes’ attorneys wrote in court documents filed Wednesday, “Defendant Elizabeth A. Holmes’ Bureau of Prisons reporting date of April 27, 2023 has been automatically stayed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by operation of the Ninth Circuit Rules. Ms. Holmes was on bail at the time the motion was filed. Therefore, that bail automatically remains in effect until the Ninth Circuit has ruled on her motion.”
Holmes has most recently been vacationing at a San Diego beachside mansion with her two young children and the children’s father, multi-millionaire Billy Evans. The family was photographed by paparazzi on Tuesday in San Diego.
The Stanford University dropout was pregnant during her sentencing hearing in November 2022, and she gave birth to her daughter in February. According to the Daily Mail, Holmes named her baby Invicta, a Latin word meaning “invincible” or “unconquered.”
Holmes’ defense attorneys filed an appeal to her conviction earlier this month doubling-down on her innocence.
In the appeal, she continues to assert that she was not aware that Theranos’ blooding testing technology was flawed and produced inaccurate results for patients. When she wooed wealthy investors to pump millions of dollars into her company, Holmes didn’t lie to deceive them — she truly believed in the technology’s capabilities, according to her appeal.
The appeal veers away from an apology Holmes made at her November sentencing hearing. Holmes was sobbing when she told the judge, “I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos. I loved Theranos, it was my life’s work. My team meant the world to me … they worked tirelessly. Every day I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them. I am so, so sorry. Looking back, there are so many things I would do differently if I had the chance.”
Holmes was convicted by a jury on four counts of defrauding Theranos investors.
Theranos was like a plane crash, prosecutors said, and “by 2015, the writing was on the wall that the company was going to fail. Investors were locked in that airplane. There was no way for them to unload shares. They invested hundreds of millions of dollars and took nothing out.”
The rise and fall of Holmes startup company inspired HBO’s documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” and “The Dropout” on Hulu.