Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who was found guilty, requested a new trial on Monday after a prominent prosecution witness visited her house and expressed regret for “doing something wrong.”
After a jury earlier this year found Holmes guilty of cheating investors in her blood-testing startup Theranos, she is due to be sentenced in October.
In a market littered with the corpses of failing companies that once promised unfathomable riches, Holmes is a rare case of a tech executive being held accountable for a company flaming out.
Her case brought attention to the hazy line between the hustle that characterizes the sector from overt criminal dishonesty.
However, Holmes’ lawyers claimed that Adam Rosendorff, the former Theranos lab manager who was implicated in the prosecution’s case, showed up uninvited at her California home in August and claimed he needed to talk with her.
In an exhibit submitted to the court, Holmes’ associate William Evans described Rosendorff as having shown guilt and appearing to be in pain.
He claimed that although he made an honest effort to respond to the questions when questioned as a witness, the prosecutors tried to cast blame for the company’s problems on everyone.
Evans claimed that he refused to speak with Rosendorff and turned him away from the house that he shares with Holmes and their small boy.
“He said he thought it would be healing for both himself and Elizabeth to talk,” said Evans.”
Evans quoted Rosendorff as stating that while Holmes and he were at Theranos, they were both just starting out in their careers and that “everyone was trying so hard to produce something good and significant.”
With self-service machines that could run a variety of tests on only a few drops of blood, Holmes had promised to transform health diagnostics. Her bold plan attracted high-profile sponsors and made her a billionaire on paper by the time she was 30.
She attracted mountains of investor money while being lauded as the next great tech genius on magazine covers, but everything fell apart when Wall Street Journal investigation proved the machines did not perform as promised.
She was found guilty on four counts of deceiving investors by the jury.
But the jury also found her innocent on four crimes while coming to a deadlock on three more.
The 38-year-old could spend a significant number of years behind bars now.
Rosendorff was a key witness for the prosecution, according to Holmes’ attorneys, and his comments cast doubt on the jury’s finding of guilt.
“The jury would have viewed this case very differently if the jury had heard from Dr. Rosendorff that the government cherry-picked evidence to make things seem worse than they actually were and that everyone was doing their best and working hard to do something good and meaningful,” Holmes attorney Amy Mason Saharia argued in the document.
According to counsel, Holmes is requesting a new trial or at the very least a hearing in Silicon Valley federal court to go further into what Rosendorff intended to say to her there.
Evans referred to Rosendorff as having “stated he wants to help her.”