Oct. 17 was supposed to be the date that sentencing came down on the former Theranos founder and chief executive officer. But now Elizabeth Holmes is seeking a new trial. And she may just get it. After an online hearing, Northern District of California federal judge Edward Davila postponed sentencing for at least one month to consider new evidence of possible government misconduct in its handling of the testimony of a key witness.
At the center of this bizarre new twist is former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff who testified against Holmes at trial. But the experience apparently left him shaken and wracked with guilt. On Aug. 8, months after the trial, he showed up at Holmes’ house and begged her current boyfriend, William “Billy” Evans, for a chance to meet with his former boss. Evans said no. He also said that Rosendorff appeared at the front door looking disheveled and anxious, his shirt untucked and his voice shaking, according to media reports and court documents.
Evans says he told Rosendorff to leave but that the former prosecution witness kept on talking, expressing the guilt he felt for the way things went during the trial. It’s not that unusual for witnesses to feel remorse and a sense of guilt for the “wrongs” their testimony inflicts on parties to a trial. But actually showing up at a defendant’s home to apologize after a trial is “unusual,” according to Judge Davila. “I will say I haven’t seen a case where this happened before,” he told CNN.
But what really caught the judge’s attention is what Rosendorff allegedly said. According to the briefing filed by Holmes’ lawyers, Rosendorff told Evans that “he tried to answer the questions honestly but that the prosecutors tried to make everyone look bad” and portray the things that happened at Theranos to appear worse than they actually were. The suggestion that the prosecution manipulated Rosendorff’s testimony was serious enough to warrant a new evidentiary hearing, which will be held on Oct. 17. Meanwhile, Holmes remains free on bail. If the charges of witness manipulation stick, she may get a new trial. And if Holmes does get a new trial, Sunny Balwani might get one, too. If Judge Davila rejects the motion for a new trial, sentencing will occur sometime between November and January, with Holmes facing up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the four counts.