Closing statements begin at Sunny Balwani’s trial

For months Ramesh Balwanilawyers tried to distinguish him from Elizabeth Holmeshis former girlfriend and business partner at the failed blood testing company Theranos.

RS. Holmes was was found guilty cheating startup investors in January. mr. Balwani is looking for a different result in his own fraud trial.

But on Tuesday, in Mr. Balwani’s final deliberations, prosecutors linked him directly to Ms. Holmes and the Theranos’ years-long fraud. Jeffrey Schenk, Assistant US Attorney and lead prosecutor in the case, showed a text message stating that Mr. Balwani had sent Ms. Holmes in 2015 and it was used as evidence in court.

“I am responsible for everything at Theranos,” Mr. Balvani wrote. “All the decisions were mine too.”

The text was an admission of guilt, Mr Schenk said, adding: “He admits his role in the fraud.”

The presentation concluded more than three months of testimony in Mr. Balwani’s trial, which largely reflected Ms. The Last Autumn of Holmes. She and Mr. Balwani, 57, were indicted in 2018 for exaggerating the capabilities of Theranos blood testing machines and business performance when, in fact, the products didn’t work and the business failed. The couple pleaded not guilty. RS. Holmes was convicted on four of the 11 counts.

The trial of Mr. Balwani, known as Sunny, lacked the fanfare of Miss Case Holmes. However, it serves as a code for The fading era of startup growth it often relied on hype and hyperbole. RS. Holmes and Mr. Balwani are one of the few technology company executives who have ever been prosecuted for fraud.

Just as Ms. Holmes tried to shift the blame for the deception at Theranos onto others. Balwani pointed his finger at her. Throughout the trial, his lawyers argued that many of Theranos’ blood tests had worked. They said mrs. Holmes, not Mr. Balwani, controlled Theranos. And on Tuesday they painted Mr. Balwani truly believes in Theranos vision and technology.

mr. Balwani “put his heart and soul into Theranos,” said Jeffrey Coopersmith, who represents him. “He worked tirelessly, year after year, to make the company a success.”

RS. Holmes, now 38, with Mr. Balwani when she was 18 years old. They started dating years after Ms. Holmes founded Theranos. mr. Balwani joined Theranos in 2009, became its chief operating officer, and eventually invested $4.6 million in the company and led its lab. The couple kept their relationship a secret and lived together in a large house they jointly owned in Atherton, California.

In 2016, after Theranos was criticized for lying about its blood testing capabilities, Mr. Balwani left the company and parted ways with Ms. Holmes. The couple were accused of cheating together, but Ms. Mr Holmes in the papers insisted on separating the cases and accused Mr Balwani of emotional and sexual abuse. Her trial included dramatic testimony retelling the allegations. This topic was excluded from the Balwani Trial.

To convict Mr. Balwani, prosecutors must convince the jury that he deliberately lied to investors and patients about Theranos’ blood tests and business dealings.

Prosecutors tried to blame G. Balwani for the financial projections Theranos provided to investors and the state of its laboratories. The new witnesses included investors and executives who dealt directly with Mr. Balwani, not Ms. Holmes.

One forecast presented to investors in October 2014 indicated that Theranos would bring in $140 million this year. In reality, the revenue was $150,000. Mr. Balwani is forecasting nearly $1 billion in revenue from investor presentations next year. As the evidence showed, Theranos’ internal projections were much lower, with the reality at $429,210.

mr. Schenck said Theranos leaders have instructed their scientists to review blood tests and only start offering tests to the public when they need money from investors or clients. “No, when the science was ready,” he said.

A new witness, Patrick Mendenhall, who dealt directly with Mr. Balwani, while investing in Theranos, outlined promises that turned out to be misleading or false.

Brian Grossman, an investor in hedge fund PFM Health Sciences, who was also a witness in Ms. B’s case. The Holmes trial revealed that Mr. Balwani provided his team with financial projections that far exceeded Theranos’ projected earnings.

“When Mr. Balwani communicates with an investor, it is for a specific purpose, and the goal is to deceive them in order to get money,” Mr. Casey said. Shenk said.

Prosecutors also stressed G. Balwani’s role in running the Theranos lab, which the chief called a “disaster area” in a 2014 text message. mr. Balwani also “removed dissent” by intimidating or pushing out employees who expressed concerns about Theranos tests, such as Dr. B. Adam Rosendorf, a former lab director who testified in both trials. Shenk said.

mr. Coopersmith, defense counsel, said the government painted a “highly misleading” picture of Mr. J. Balwani in Theranos and that it was unfair to show personal texts taken out of context as evidence of a conspiracy.

Messages did not show Mr. Balwani tells anyone to commit fraud, mister, said Coopersmith. “If there was a conspiracy, you would think there would be all sorts of conspiratorial, sinister conversations, but there just isn’t,” he said.

Notably, James Mattis, former secretary of defense and board member of Theranos, and Ms. C. Holmes, who both testified in Ms. Trial of Holmes. mr. Balwani did not testify in his defense.

If he is convicted, Mr Balwani and Mr Holmes will be sentenced together in September.

Erin Wu made a report.