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A new court filing in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes shows numerous text messages sent between her and her ex-boyfriend, former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, whom Holmes plans to accuse of abuse.
Business Insider reported that prosecutors released six pages of text messages between the former couple that were sent between May and July 2015 — shortly before Theranos collapsed.
“Prosecutors in Holmes’ highly anticipated fraud trial released six pages of text correspondence from the former couple on Tuesday that offer a glimpse into their romantic relationship. They also provide a window into their apparent scramble to go on the offense against those who threatened to raise allegations that the company misrepresented its tests,” Business Insider reported.
The messages include the following, according to the outlet:
Other texts show Holmes and Balwani apparently discussing how to undermine the claims from two Theranos whistleblowers — Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung. The two also discussed how they would respond to reporting from The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou, who months later published a damning article showing that Theranos’ machines could not perform the blood tests they claimed. Carreyrou’s reporting revealed that Theranos was lying about its capabilities and using traditional blood analyzers to run most of its blood tests.
Holmes and Balwani were eventually indicted on multiple fraud charges. As The Daily Wire previously reported, recently released court filings showed Holmes plans to accuse Balwani of emotional and sexual abuse, which her attorneys claim impaired her thinking at the time that she was defrauding patients and investors with Theranos.
“This pattern of abuse and coercive control continued over the approximately decade-long duration of Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani’s relationship, including during the period of the charged conspiracies,” Holmes’ attorneys wrote in one court filing.
Cheryl Bader, a professor at Fordham Law School and a former assistant U.S. attorney, told Business Insider that the texts could hamper Holmes’ planned defense, which is to accuse Balwani of abuse that impaired her judgment while she was running Theranos.
“The texts paint a picture of a couple who are loving, value each other’s thoughts, and are mutually engaged in a common pursuit,” Bader told the outlet. “I think the jury will read these texts as evidence of a coequal partnership in a close and loving relationship.”
“These texts are a strategic-planning thread peppered with expressions of affection and mutual admiration that the prosecution will argue undermines Holmes’ claim that that she was being controlled and abused,” Bader added. “The defense will caution the jury not to read too much into a text thread and may argue that if anything, it shows how devoted, dependent, and controlled Holmes was by Balwani.”
In his excellent documentary, “The Inventor,” filmmaker Alex Gibney revealed that while Balwani was considered a tyrant to those who worked for him, he was deferential to Holmes and always appeared supportive of her and firmly in the number 2 position at Theranos.