Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former executive director of Theranos, arrives for a hearing in the U.S. District Court in the Federal Building of Robert F. Peckham in San Jose, California on Monday, November 4, 2019.
Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Elizabeth Holmes’ attorneys strongly opposed the government’s attempts to describe her flamboyant lifestyle in front of a jury, saying the move “risks creating class bias” that are irrelevant to her criminal trial.
Holmes, who faces a dozen fraud charges, earned a salary and accomplishments commensurate with her position as CEO of Theranos, her attorneys wrote in court documents filed late Tuesday.
The government has argued that Holmes’ high-flying lifestyle was fueled by their fraud.
Your lawyers say this is just wrong.
They write that the evidence says nothing about their motive. “If so, a CEO could be said to have a motive for cheating. Rather, the real value of the evidence to the government is to paint a (misleading) picture of Ms. Holmes as a woman, fashion, one prioritized luxury lifestyle and fame and invited a referendum on startup and corporate culture. “
Introducing details of Holmes’ expenses, her lawyers wrote, would be a waste of time, adding that her so-called luxury travel accommodations appear to be approved by the Theranos board and justified by a full itinerary.
“Evidence of the purchase of expensive clothing, makeup, self-care products, and other goods (none of which are allegedly beyond their means) that the government is seeking to introduce through otherwise irrelevant emails from Ms. Holmes’ staff to assistants does not constitute a motive for fraud firm, “wrote Holmes’ lawyers, adding that instead they” are trying to ignite by invoking stereotypes of class and gender “.
Holmes often wore a black turtleneck, an image she cultivated in the print and broadcast media. Her attorneys point out that much of her clothing was bought for work events, adding, “The government ignores the criticism of Ms. Holmes for wearing the same outfit every day.”
Holmes’ attorneys argue that their motive for making money as CEO is “a proposal that can apply to anyone, poor or rich”.
Last month, prosecutors said the fact that Holmes received a variety of benefits, both tangible and intangible, “tends to show that she wanted to cheat in order to obtain those benefits”.
Holmes, a Stanford dropout, had a six-figure salary and a billion dollar stake in Theranos until the company closed in 2018.
One of the issues that emerged in the extensive government files was that Holmes was more motivated by money and fame than revolutionizing the healthcare industry.