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Elizabeth Holmes resists government efforts to detail her CEO lifestyle

Elizabeth Holmes, collapse and former CEO of Theranos, arrives for motion hearing on Monday, November 4, 2019, at the U.S. District Court House inside Robert F. Peckham Federal Structure in San Jose, California.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Elizabeth Holmes’ attorneys strongly pushed back against the administration’s attempts to detail her extravagant lifestyle before a jury, saying the move “risks invoking class prejudice” that is inappropriate to her criminal case.

Holmes, who is facing a dozen criminal wire fraud charges, earned a salary and benefits commensurate with her outlook as CEO of Theranos, her attorneys wrote in court documents filed late Tuesday.

The government has argued that Holmes’ high-flying lifestyle was ammunitioned by her fraud.

Her attorneys say that’s simple untrue.

They write the evidence says nothing about her motive, “if it did any CEO could be suggested to have a motive to commit fraud. Rather the real value of the evidence to the government is to paint a (misleading) picture of Ms. Holmes as a little woman who prioritized fashion, a luxurious lifestyle, and fame, and to invite a referendum on startup and corporate culture.”

Introducing details of Holmes’ waste, her attorneys wrote, would be a waste of time, adding that her so-called luxurious travel accommodations appear to be approved by the Theranos trustees and justified by a busy travel schedule.

“Evidence regarding the purchase of expensive clothing, makeup and self-care products, and other nobilities (again, none of which are alleged to be beyond her means), which the government intends to introduce through otherwise off-the-wall emails by Ms. Holmes’ personal assistants, does not establish a motive to commit fraud” Holmes’ attorneys wrote, adding that it in lieu of “seeks to inflame by appealing to stereotypes of class and gender.”

Holmes often wore a black turtleneck sweater, an counterpart she cultivated in print and broadcast media. Her attorneys point out that much of her clothing was purchased for work events, enlarging “the government ignores that Ms. Holmes was criticized for wearing the same outfit every day.”

Holmes’ attorneys argue her goad for making money as a CEO is “a proposition that could apply to anyone, whether rich or poor.”  

Last month, prosecutors imagined the fact that Holmes’ gained a variety of tangible and intangible benefits “tends to show that she intended to rob in order to obtain those benefits.”

Holmes, a Stanford dropout, had a six-figure salary and a billion dollar stake in Theranos until the entourage shut down in 2018.

One of the themes that has emerged in the government’s voluminous case filings has been that Holmes was uncountable motivated by money and fame than revolutionizing the health-care industry.

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