Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes accused her former boyfriend and business partner Ramesh Balwani of repeated forced sex while testifying at his criminal fraud trial, portraying him as an abusive partner who heavily influenced her handling of the ‘business.
Holmes said in federal court on Monday that Balwani would reprimand his performance as the general manager of the blood testing start-up. He sometimes got angry and had forced sex with her, she said, adding that Balwani had said he wanted her to know that he “still loved me”.
Holmes faces 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud over his claims that Theranos revolutionized blood testing technology. Theranos closed in 2018 after revelations that the company’s proprietary machines were not always performing as expected. Holmes faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
She pleaded not guilty and, on her fourth and final day of direct testimony, guided by defense attorneys from the Williams & Connolly law firm, she attempted to refute accusations that she intentionally misled investors and other business partners while turning Theranos into a $ 9 billion company. business.
In the San Jose, California courtroom, Holmes attempted to portray Balwani as a domineering force whose influence contributed to the downfall of the company and affected his leadership.
“He would get really mad at me and then he would go up to our room sometimes and force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to,” Holmes said.
Balwani and Holmes lived together from 2005 until she left the company in 2016, she said. A Balwani lawyer did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. Balwani’s lawyers have previously denied the abuse charges.
Holmes ‘defense team presented text messages and notes from Holmes’ cell phone that referred to times when Balwani engaged in forced sex, she said.
After one incident, Holmes said, she wrote in a text to Balwani: “I hate this.” Following another incident, according to Holmes, she wrote a note on her cell phone saying, “Literally don’t appreciate anything about this or who I am if I did.”
Holmes also accused Balwani of exerting a strong influence on her behavior as an executive, convincing her to maintain a strict schedule and diet. She said she dropped out of Stanford University to found Theranos after being raped at school, and Balwani, who is 20 years older, said she was “safe now that I have her. meet”.
Asked by defense attorney Kevin Downey about the effect his relationship with Balwani had on his work at Theranos, Holmes said: “He had an impact on everything I was and I just don’t understand him completely.”
Holmes’ attorneys alleged that she was suffering from an âabusive intimate partner relationshipâ with Balwani and that a trauma psychologist performed 14 hours of assessment on her.
Over the weekend, prosecutors formally objected to attempts by Holmes’ legal team to admit Balwani’s prior statements in the case, arguing they should try to call him to testify first. Judge Edward Davila did not immediately rule on the matter.
Balwani’s attorney said he would invoke his right not to testify if called upon to do so, according to the defense team.
Davila ordered in March last year that Balwani and Holmes face separate trials after they were initially charged together on the same counts.