Legal surprise!

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, plans to defend herself at her federal fraud trial starting next week by arguing that her ex-boyfriend, who was an executive at the company, emotionally and sexually abused her, impairing her state of mind at the time of the alleged crimes, according to newly unsealed legal filings in her case.

Possibly the best description of this is the modern equivalent of pleading her belly.

Strong, independent woman and all that but when things go tits up it’s all the patriarchy, right?

As a result of the alleged abuse, Holmes plans to argue that she suffers from mental health conditions, including intimate partner abuse syndrome, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.

The abuse claims relate to the fraud charges because she is expected to argue that Balwani’s actions were equivalent to “dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions,” including her ability to “deceive her victims,” the court papers say.

Yep, puppy dog tails. Bad things must be male.

Then again, she’s not got a great deal of choice in her defence strategies, has she?

13 thoughts on “Legal surprise!”

  1. She has already pleaded her belly, by getting pregnant. That must have delayed the legal proceedings a tad.

    Given her intimate partner syndrome I look forward to the turkey baster being introduced as evidence.

  2. How deep the hole is that she is tossed into will depend on whether Theranos’s false tests ever actually harmed anyone. From what I’ve read the bad test results, while initially distressing to some patients, were viewed with suspicion by their doctors who then ordered new tests from a proper lab (and apparently most of Theranos’s tests were done by proper labs, and hence were done properly, but they were presented as having come from her magic gizmo).

    As far as the financial fraud, could you find a more unsympathetic bunch of victims? Prominent rich old farts who were thinking with something other than their brains when dealing with an attractive young woman young enough to be their great granddaughter. Or venture capitalists who should have known better. It’s been reported that VCs who invested in medical technology steered clear of Theranos. Somewhere they’re going to have to find a sympathetic victim of her fraud.

    And then, you’ve also got faking out the regulators.

    I just don’t see her taking a hard fall unless they actually present a patient who was physically harmed, in which case all bets are off. Without that I doubt that she’ll get a severely long sentence.

  3. ‘And then, you’ve also got faking out the regulators.’

    I wouldn’t underplay this one, the system protects its own after all

  4. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    Actually, her defense shows just how little she and her legal team have to work with.

  5. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    What I just can’t believe is that essentially the entire medical establishment went along with this blatantly impossible, indefensible scam. No one asking any questions, everyone just assuming everyone else knew what they are doing, it’s all just SOP, trust us, we’re doctors, it’s not fraudulent at all, totally trustworthy, don’t you trust “the” science?

    I’m really glad no other blatantly indefensible medical scams, especially any really big ones with global socioeconomic consequences, have been pulled since then.

  6. Really? A company one step away from being called Thanatos and they couldn’t see through it? What were they planning on branching out into? Yuthansia?

  7. This seems a strategy of despair. She all but admits it woz her wot did it, but then argues she wasn’t responsible for her actions, because.
    If she is arguing innocence, that she did nothing illegal, then what relevance does ‘the evil bloke bullying me’ have?

    So this seems more an attempt to minimise the penalty by blameshifting. To her benefit: she’s female: always good for a bit of special pleading. To her detriment, she’s an evil oppressive capitalist who makes profit from people’s illness.

    If the case is in California, it’s a well matched balance of political doctrine. Popcorn.

  8. If this stands, every straight businesswoman will need to carry around a recent note from a psychologist. Male directors will be legally obliged to check her Holmes Card whenever she opens her mouth.

  9. Biggie wins the thread.

    More proof were any needed that medical hacks are nothing special. Just the same bunch of two-legged mugs. Who have undeserved credibility with the mug in the street.

    The same mugs dumb enough to shoehorn themselves into social credit tyranny based on a load of lying bullshit and a bad winter flu. Unless the 1/3 who aren’t that dumb can sink Blojob Johnson’s winter LD and vax pass powergrab.

  10. I’ve not previously delved into this story, but the biggest shock for me in this sorry affair is the Wikipedia statement: “ In July 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the company’s fingerstick blood testing device for the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) outside a clinical laboratory setting“. Now, Wikipedia, yes, hardly an authoritative source, and I’m not about to research the history, but FDA approval? How was that even remotely possible on an in-vitro diagnostic device that was completely de novo? It couldn’t have been classed as an ‘essentially similar’ low risk device and would be subject to the hideously stringent New Device Application process by FDA. I know there were similar medical device scandals in the EU e.g over some non-compliant breast implants and hip replacements, but that’s in a completely different league of compliance assessment failure. In the case of the breast implants I know a few of the auditors from the Notified Body involved in this and they were very good, as is the Notified Body but still the fraud got past them in the manufacturing surveillance audits. No one at the time expected overt fraud in raw material purchase and documentation, and prior to the current EU legislation covering compliance assessment, auditors at production facilities tended to check that there was a full Quality Management System in place, that it was robust with complete documentation, that SOPs were followed and the QA system met the requirements of the current EN or ISO standards in effect. But an FDA approval involving clinical design, verification and production? How did it get through with sheer amount of data that would need to be submitted and assessed?

  11. Ever since this story broke I wondered how they expected this scam to end. Did they think they were close to actually making the device work? Were they planning to run off to a private island with no extradition?

    Anybody heard or have a guess?

  12. @ Esteban
    There are still several countries that lack extradition treaties. There is a Kipling poem about scammers who fled to South America with their ill-gotten gains (not that I should expect Ms Holmes to have read Kipling, who had strong, even if old-fashioned, moral standards).

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