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Elizabeth Holmes Takes Final Swipe at Ex-boyfriend As Defense Rests

Enlarge / Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes and her partner, Billy Evans, right, leave the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building on November 23, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. (credit: Ethan Swope/Getty Images)

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes took one last shot at ex-boyfriend Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani yesterday, attempting to reinforce her defense’s strategy of blaming the former COO.

Once Holmes was finished, the defense rested. It was a surprise move. The other defense witnesses—a former Theranos board member who joined the company in 2016 and a paralegal who provided a summary of the defense’s view of the case—were relatively small players. Many people had expected that Mindy Mechanic, an expert on intimate partner violence, would help the defense contextualize Holmes’ testimony about Balwani’s allegedly abusive and controlling behavior.

But the defense never called Mechanic, and at the end of the session, assistant US attorney Robert Leach told Judge Edward Davila that the government would be filing a motion asking the court to strike Holmes’ testimony relating to Balwani’s alleged abusive behavior. Why? The defense didn’t call an expert to explain the psychological effects the alleged abuse had on Holmes, making certain events irrelevant to the case.

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