Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes' fraud defense alleges she was the victim of abuse and not in control of her own decision-making

Originally published at: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes' fraud defense alleges she was the victim of abuse and not in control of her own decision-making | Boing Boing


I’m having a hard time coming up with an honest response to this that would nevertheless comply with BB guidelines, so I’ll just say this: I hope justice is done in these cases.


Same. Biting my virtual tongue at least until more is known.


From the filings, she and her co-defendant Balwani are both seeking to sever their fraud trials. Their respective goals would be to convince her jury that it’s all his fault, and convince his jury that it’s all her fault. Not guilty, not guilty.

Regardless of the truth of her allegations, I think she knew she was making false statements about her company, probably with the intent to deceive and get a lot of money from investors, and indeed they gave her that money in reliance on her false statements. If he is guilty of the alleged abuse, that may be a separate matter that does not absolve her of the fraud.


Honestly, for all I know it’s all true, but this trial is going to suck to have in the media for all the regular people dealing with abuse who didn’t also commit fraud. So… shit.


She is playing the “I’m a girl” sympathy card HARD. She also had a child, got her hair styled and gave up the turtlenecks for a more “feminine” style. She is a very manipulative person, and now she is playing “I’m just an innocent victim,” instead of “I’m a genius CEO.” Personally, I don’t think that Theranos STARTED OUT as a fraud, but step by step, as their technology failed, that is what it became. It’s worth remembering that like pharma douche Shkreli, she is in court here not because of the harm that she did to patients, but for defrauding capitalists. More proof of what it takes to get white collar criminals prosecuted. (edited for clarity)


Well at least she managed to grift Betsy Devos, Rupert Murdoch and the Walton family.


I think it will be important to remember that not all victims are innocent, and that we can believe her account of her own abuse while also believing that, by all evidence, she knowingly committed fraud and hurt people.


Even if (and it is a huge ‘IF’) she was being abused by her own boyfriend, that surely cannot be a defence against the charges of defrauding investors and clients of Theranos? For breaking medical ethics rules by running misleading tests on seriously ill patients? For breaking FDA regulations on labelling of its equipment? For running a fake lab to deceive investors and even VP Joe Biden?..

She was CEO of a fraud. On her watch, people got hurt, some might have died. She needs to face justice.

BTW. If anyone hasn’t read it, John Carreyrou’s ‘Bad Blood’ is a fantastic book.


Innocent of other things. All those abused are innocent of their abuse as far as I know. Can be terrible people otherwise of course.


That’s not gonna fly (far). She committed that most heinous crime of all - stealing money.
From rich people.


True. It is certainly possible that she was the victim of abuse. But since she is a practiced dissembler that lied for years about stuff (the efficacy of the medical results of her lab) that has the potential to get people killed, I’m going to look at her self-exculpatory statements with great skepticism. The parable of “The boy who cried wolf,” is at work here.


By all accounts I’ve read about Theranos, Balwani was indeed a bullying and preening arsehole who created a toxic office environment. I can see someone like that being abusive and controlling with a romantic partner.

Still, I’m going to join others here in reserving judgment about whether all the responsibility for this lying grifters’s sociopathic behaviour can be pinned on him. Holmes was peddling her snake oil long before he came on board the Theranos medicine wagon.

I also get the vague sense that having a baby hasn’t worked out to be quite the “get out of jail free” card Holmes and her lawyers thought it might be.


Absolutely, 100%. I regret that my comment leaves any ambiguity on that front. Victims of abuse and assault bear zero blame for the actions of their abusers.


Well, we’ll see if the crock of shit Ms. Holmes/Froggy Voice is trying pull will stick. I’m going with a big fat NO…

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I don’t think that it will keep her out of prison, but it could get her sentence lowered.

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I think criticism of the slogan “believe women” was rooted in the authoritarian idea that we are only capable of thinking of things as all good or all bad. Either we support Holmes as an abuse victim (an mystical angel of light) OR we are angry at her for being a fraudster (death to her! DEATH!). Furthermore, they categorize holding people accountable for their actions as an attack on those people.

It’s not hard to believe Holmes’ boyfriend was abusive towards Holmes. The psychological damage from that abuse crossed the not-criminally-responsible threshold for defrauding strangers? Bulllllllllshit. That’s a high bar. I can simultaneously think, “I’m glad you’ve escaped from an abusive situation” and “Take responsibility for what you did.”


I hope she gets the help and support she needs, and I think she should spend time in prison.


And one of those used generals Trump had around for a few weeks.

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I am torn between calling that a net positive or a net negative outcome.
(Nobody is a saint here.)