Elizabeth Holmes is asking to stay out of federal prison as she appeals her convictions in the Theranos investor fraud, citing her “strong ties to her partner and family, including her son and soon-to-be-born child.”
U.S District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, California, on Nov. 18 ordered the 38-year-old Holmes to report to the Bureau of Prisons on April 27 to begin her 11-year-sentence. But her lawyers have appealed her convictions to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and they say the complexity of the case, coupled with Holmes’ lack of a flight risk and danger to public safety, warrants her continued freedom.
“Ms. Holmes did not flee during the pendency of her case; did not flee in the immediate aftermath of her conviction or sentencing; and no evidence suggests she will flee while she pursues her appeal,” according to a 21-page motion filed late Monday. “She has strong ties to her partner and family, including her son and soon-to-be-born child, that incentivize her to comply with her conditions of release.”
A jury convicted Holmes of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Jan. 3. Prosecutors asked Davila to sentence her to 15 years, while Holmes’ attorneys asked for home confinement or a minimal term of 18 months in prison. Davila instead sentenced her to 135 months, which is 11.25 years.
Holmes’ attorneys filed their notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit on Dec. 2. They have until March 3 to file their opening brief, and prosecutors have until April 3 to file theirs. Holmes has 21 days from then to file an optional reply.
The motion filed Monday with Davila says the appeal “is not for the purpose of delay,” but rather to “raise substantial questions of law or fact that, if successful, would mandate a new trial.” The brief identified several issues, including Davila’s allowance of what her lawyers say was “expert testimony disguised as fact testimony,” the admission of of certain reports and other evidence and the exclusion of deposition testimony from Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her co-defendant who is awaiting sentencing. They also plan to argue Davila errored when denying Holmes’ motions for new trial, including her motion over the surprise visit to her home by key witness Adam Rosendorff, Theranos’ former lab director.
“If Ms. Holmes prevails on appeal, a new trial will undoubtedly be required,” according to the motion.
The motion concludes by emphasizing Holmes “is neither a flight risk nor a threat to the community.”
“This case has a lengthy, complex record for which there are numerous substantial issues to be addressed on appeal which, if decided in her favor, would require a new trial,” the motion reads. “Ms. Holmes has remained in constant contact with counsel throughout this case. Release will facilitate Ms. Holmes’ continued communication with her counsel concerning these issues and the merits of her appeal.”
Holmes’ supporters included Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J), who wrote a letter to Davila on her behalf.
Read the full motion here.
[Image via Kimberly White/Getty Images]
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