According to published reports, Holmes’ defense attorneys argued yesterday that travel and other restrictions related to the pandemic would hamper their client’s trial preparation efforts. They had filed motions asking U.S. District Judge Edward Davila to waive public safety restrictions so he and Holmes’ other attorneys could travel and meet face-to-face, conduct interviews and serve subpoenas to prepare her defense.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr recently exempted federal prosecutors from abiding by shelter-in-place and lockdown orders, but that exemption doesn’t cover defense attorneys, Holmes’ team added. Davila, who serves on the bench in San Jose, wasn’t buying it.
“You’re asking the court to violate other orders in the midst of a national crisis,” Davila said in a telephone conference call to discuss the status of the case, according to a report by SiliconValley.com “I guess I’m just concerned about the tone of your order. The tone of it is, ‘Well, Judge, if you want us to go forward with this hearing you’re going to have to order us to violate other jurisdictions’ orders and that’s what we’re asking you to do in a very publicly filed way.’”
Holmes and Theranos were once Silicon Valley darlings, with Holmes claiming that her company was set to revolutionize blood testing with technology that could analyze tiny amounts of blood. Forbes in 2015 even recognized Holmes as America’s richest self-made woman based on Theranos’ multibillion-dollar valuation at the time.
Investigative reporting, though, soon dismantled the claims Holmes was making about Theranos’ technology, raising questions about whether she and others had misled investors. The downward spiral culminated in the 2018 shutdown of the company, with the SEC criminally charging Holmes and ex-Theranos president Sunny Balwani over what it described as a “massive fraud.”
Davila advised Holmes’ attorneys that meetings could be done via teleconference. He also hinted at possibly postponing the trial, scheduled to begin Aug. 4 following jury selection.
“We’re in a different landscape now because of the crisis,” Davila said, according to the SiliconValley.com report. “It’s just a terrible, terrible situation that we’re all facing across this country and across the globe.”