Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder and former CEO of blood-testing startup Theranos, has been granted a delay in her prison sentence due to her pregnancy.
Holmes was set to be sentenced on March 18, 2022, after being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy. However, her lawyers argued that her due date for her second child is in July, and requested that her sentence be postponed until after the birth. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila granted the request on Thursday, saying that the “unique and extraordinary circumstances” justified a delay. However, he also noted that the sentencing date will be rescheduled for “as soon as feasible after the child’s birth.”
Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison for defrauding investors and patients with false claims about Theranos’ blood-testing technology. She was convicted on four counts of wire fraud, three counts of fraud against investors, and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Theranos was once valued at $9 billion and Holmes was hailed as a Silicon Valley superstar, but the company’s downfall began in 2015 when investigative journalist John Carreyrou exposed the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in Theranos’ technology. The company eventually shut down in 2018. Holmes’ legal team argued that her pregnancy should be taken into consideration in her sentencing, stating that it would be “traumatic” for both her and her child to be separated immediately after birth. They also argued that Holmes has already suffered significant personal and professional losses as a result of the case.
However, prosecutors pushed back against the request, stating that the delay would send a message that wealthy defendants can manipulate the justice system. They also argued that Holmes had been aware of her pregnancy since at least September 2021, and that the request for a delay was made at the last minute. Despite the delay in her sentencing, Holmes is still facing a number of civil lawsuits related to her actions at Theranos. It remains to be seen what impact her pregnancy will have on her legal battles going forward.