- by theguardian
- 15 Aug 2022
Sunny Balwani, the former Theranos executive and romantic partner of Elizabeth Holmes, could face a verdict this week on charges he defrauded company investors and patients, bringing the final chapter of the Theranos legal saga to a close.
Lawyers in the case began final arguments in the trial on Tuesday in a courtroom in San Jose, California. After both parties rest their cases, jurors will begin deliberation. Balwani faces up to 20 years in prison on similar charges to those brought against his alleged co-conspirator, Holmes, whose case was decided in January of this year.
In addition to his financial involvement, Balwani joined the blood-testing startup as chief operating officer in 2010 while clandestinely living with Holmes. In her own trial, Holmes accused Balwani of abuse and of influencing her role in defrauding customers and investors.
The dueling presentations were among the finishing touches on a three-month trial that will determine whether Balwani will face a similar verdict to that of the Holmes trial, in which the jury spent seven days in deliberations before convicting her on four counts of investor fraud.
Coopersmith will continue his closing defense of Balwani on Wednesday, and then prosecutors will have a chance to present a rebuttal before US district judge Edward Davila reads his final instructions sending the jury into its deliberations.
Balwani, 57, is accused of defrauding the same Theranos investors as Holmes, as well as duping patients who entrusted the analysis of their health to a blood-testing technology that did not work as promised. Holmes was acquitted of the charges accusing her of defrauding patients who had their blood tested by Theranos.
Holmes and Balwani began dating around the same time she dropped out of Stanford University at the age of 19 to start Theranos, when he was 38. The two later claimed to have discovered a way to test for more than 200 potential health problems with just a few drops of blood. They broke up in 2016 as Theranos collapsed amid revelations of serious flaws in its technology.
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