Disgraced Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes May Claim ‘Mental Disease’ in Legal Defense

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, participates in the closing plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced former CEO of Silicon Valley darling Theranos, is reportedly considering claiming to have a “mental disease” as part of her legal defense in her criminal fraud trial.

Bloomberg reports that former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is considering claiming to have a “mental disease” as part of her legal defense in her criminal fraud trial. On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the case ruled that government prosecutors can examine Holmes, the ruling was in response to Holme’s plans to introduce evidence of “mental disease to defect” or other mental condition “bearing on the issue of guilt” according to a court filing.

It’s expected that Holmes may be attempting to introduce evidence to challenge the requirement that prosecutors prove her intent to commit and illegal act. Homes intends to use testimony from Mindy Mechanic, a clinical psychologist at California State University at Fullerton, according to the court filing.

Mechanic is an expert in the psychosocial consequences of trauma with a focus on violence against women. Mechanic regularly provides expert testimony in cases involving “interpersonal violence” according to her faculty profile. Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade who now teaches at the University of Michigan law schools, thinks it will be an uphill battle for Holmes. McQuade said that an insanity defense would not be easy as the defendant must meet a high standard of proof.

McQuade stated in an email: “Contrary to what you may see in the movies, an insanity defense in federal cases is rare and hard to fake.” Holmes must show that when she committed the alleged offenses a severe mental defect made her “unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of (her) acts.”

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila rejected Holmes’s argument that she shouldn’t have to submit to a psychological examination by a government expert in his ruling, stating that such an examination is fair given Holme’s intent to use testimony from Mechanic. “The court agrees with the government that its experts must be permitted to conduct their own examination of defendant Holmes in order to mount an effective rebuttal,” Davila wrote.

Holmes and her former boyfriend and ex-Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani are accused of making false claims about the company’s devices which they alleged could perform multiple tests with a single drop of blood, fooling investors and defrauding doctors and patients who trusted the results. Theranos was at one pointed valued at $9 billion before the fraud was discovered.

Read more at Bloomberg here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.