A federal judge denied Elizabeth Holmes’ request for a new trial, according to court filings Monday, clearing the way for the failed blood test maker Theranos to be sentenced later this month.
The decision comes after a hearing in San Jose on October 17, in which Judge Edward Davila re-heard one of the government’s key witnesses, Adam Rosendorff. The hearing was intended to address concerns from Holmes’ defense team, who said Rosendorff showed up at his home after the trial asking to speak with him and that he regretted his testimony.
At the hearing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Rosendorff, the former head of the Theranos lab, confirmed Holmes’ testimony at trial as true and said the government had no influence on what he said.
In Monday’s decision, Davila denied Holmes’ three motions for a new trial. The trial, which was planned for the previous month, has been set for November 18.
Holmes, once hailed as a tech industry icon for his company’s promises to test various conditions with just a few drops of blood, pleaded guilty in January to four counts of defrauding investors. Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos executive, was convicted in a separate trial in July. Both face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine plus restitution on each count.
In September, Holmes’ defense team filed a motion for a new trial after Rosendorff said he arrived at Holmes’ home on Aug. 8. According to that court filing, Rosendorff had no relationship with Holmes, but spoke to her partner Billy Evans. He recounted the exchange in an email to Holmes’ lawyers shortly thereafter.
In Evans’ email, Rosendorff “said that when he was called as a witness he tried to answer questions honestly, but prosecutors tried to make everyone look bad.” The former Theranos lab director also “said he felt he had done something wrong,” Evans wrote.
Davila wrote in his order Monday that the court “finds that Dr. Rosendorff’s statements to Mr. Evans do not suggest the meaning that defense counsel would like and, even if they did, would not be relevant to the issues at trial.”
“Consequently, a new trial is not warranted based on the ‘newly discovered’ evidence of Dr. Rosendorff’s statements to Mr. Evans,” Davila wrote.
In an affidavit filed in court on Sept. 21, Rosendorff wrote that he supports his testimony in Holmes and Balwani’s trials “in all respects.”
At last month’s hearing, Holmes and Evans were present as Rosendorff was questioned by a defense attorney about his decision to visit Holmes’ home. He responded that in the weeks and months following Holmes’ conviction, he “began to feel more and more upset and uncomfortable that a young child, a child, would spend the formative years without a mother in his life.” (Holmes has a child with Evans.)
Rosendorff said that when he visited Holmes’ residence in August, he rang the doorbell and spoke briefly with Evans, who asked him to leave. He went to his car and started to drive away, he testified, but Evans waved him down the window; he did, and they had a conversation that, Rosendorff said, “expressed the sympathy of the Theranos staff.”
Asked by the defense attorney if the prosecution was trying to make everyone look bad, Rosendorff said the prosecution was trying to paint “an angry picture of Elizabeth Holmes.” To the extent that the others looked bad, it was because of their connection to Elizabeth.
He said he did not recall telling Evans he felt he had done something wrong, as Evans wrote in his email to Holmes’ attorneys after the interaction.