Elizabeth Holmes returned to San Jose Federal Court Friday as part of the disgraced Theranos founder’s efforts to avoid prison after being convicted of defrauding investors in her failed blood-testing startup.
The former Silicon Valley CEO is set to report to federal custody late next month to begin serving her 11.25-year sentence, but is asking U.S. District Judge Edward Davila to allow her to remain on house arrest pending appeal.
Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys argued two main motions during the hearing.
The first was over the amount of restitution Holmes must pay. The question is whether she should be liable for paying all Theranos investors’ losses — amounting to around $900 million — or the $440 million lost by the investors who testified and informed the jury’s decision to convict Holmes on four counts of fraud and conspiracy.
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The other motion addressed Holmes’s attempt to stay free pending her appeal at the 9th Circuit Court. Federal prosecutors argued she is a flight risk, and facing a long prison sentence has the motives (and means) to flee. Her lawyer argued she is a mother to two young children and has family that will tie her to the community, adding she has complied with all court orders.
But, the same judge denied a similar request by Sunny Bulwani, Holmes’ former lover and top deputy at Theranos, who was convicted on a dozen counts related to the fraud scheme. Many legal observers believe that while Judge Davila may reduce the restitution amount, he is unlikely to let Holmes stay free pending her appeal.
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Before court started, some courtroom drama occurred when a man approached Holmes from the gallery and attempted to give her a piece of paper. He was quickly met by four or five U.S. Marshals who forcibly escorted him out, while he shouted “Ok, ok, are you going to arrest me?” A trial observer told FOX News the same man had been removed from the courtroom before.
Holmes sat quietly at the defense table, wearing a black skirt suit and black face mask. Her parents, and partner Billy Evans, sat in the courtroom behind her. No one spoke after court.
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The hearing lasted about 90 minutes, and Judge Davila said he would issue rulings by the first week in April.
At this point, Elizabeth Holmes is ordered to show up to prison on April 27th.