Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to face trial separate from ex-lover

Holmes and ex-Theranos president Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani have been side-by-side until this point

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will head to trial apart from fellow C-suite exec and one-time lover, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, according to a report.

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Holmes, who served as the company’s CEO, will head to trial starting Aug. 4 with a separate jury from Balwani, who will be tried following the conclusion of Holmes’ case, Bloomberg reported.

Elizabeth Holmes (Reuters); Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani (Getty Images)

The judge did not provide any explanation for his late Friday decision other than to say he found “good cause” to take the action, according to the report.

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Holmes and Balwani, the company’s former chief operating officer and president, have remained unified throughout their legal battle leading up to this point, which legal experts told Bloomberg could have been a “complicating factor” in their impending legal battle.

Some possibilities, according to the outlet, are that Holmes or Balwani could be cooperating with the government or could have agreed to testify against the other.

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Prosecutors allege that Holmes and Balwani deliberately misled investors, policymakers and the public about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood-testing technologies.

The two pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, they could each face maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and a $2.75 million fine, plus possible restitution, the Department of Justice said.

But in February, the pair had a number of charges dropped, excluding wire fraud.

Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards where she receives an award, in New York, NY on Nov. 9, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

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Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 to found Theranos in 2003, pitching its technology as a cheaper way to run dozens of blood tests with just a prick of a finger and a few droplets of blood.

Theranos shared very little about its blood-testing machine with the public or medical community. Holmes said she was inspired to start the company in response to her fear of needles.

Investors bought what Holmes was selling and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the company. At one time, Theranos was worth more than $10 billion and Holmes the nation’s youngest self-made female billionaire.

A sign outside of the headquarters of Theranos in Palo Alto, California on January 24, 2016. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar/AP) 

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But an investigation by The Wall Street Journal in 2015 found that Theranos’ technology was inaccurate at best and that the company was using routine blood-testing equipment for the vast majority of its tests. The story raised concerns about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood-testing technology, which put patients at risk of having conditions either misdiagnosed or ignored.

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Holmes forfeited control of Theranos in 2018 and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that she had committed a “massive fraud” that saw investors pour $700 million into the firm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.