The exact defense that Elizabeth Holmes is going to be using at trial, which will reportedly be based around abuse from her former intra-office boy-toy Sunny Balwani, still remains somewhat of a mystery after opening arguments.
Holmes' lawyer danced around the topic during opening statements, according to Bloomberg, saying: "You’ll learn that certain aspects of that relationship had a big impact on Ms. Holmes. You’ll learn that trusting and relying on Mr. Balwani as her primary adviser was one of her mistakes.”
Her lawyer, Lance Wade, didn't go into further detail about the abuse but did call Balwani "relentless" and "hard-charging". Balwani “did not take well to people who
disagreed with him," Wade said.
He told jurors: “There was a side of that relationship that many people saw and may talk about during this case and there was another side that most people never saw. You’ll have to wait for all of the evidence and then decide how to fairly view that relationship.”
Amanda Kramer, a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer at Covington & Burling in New York, told Bloomberg: “Holmes’ attorney never uttered the word abuse, but he made a number of references that effectively laid a solid foundation for the abuse allegations. If the jurors later hear more on this subject, they won’t feel blindsided.”
Recall, days ago, we noted that Holmes would argue she had PTSD as a result of years of abuse. Facing 20 years in prison, Holmes' lawyers have told the court they expect Holmes to testify in her own defense during her trial. Holmes and Balwani have both been charged, but their trials have been separated.
Holmes now claims she "suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety as a result of her relationship with Balwani", Bloomberg reported. Court filings have revealed that Holmes' lawyers plan “to introduce evidence that Mr. Balwani verbally disparaged her and withdrew ‘affection if she displeased him,’ controlled what she ate, how she dressed, how much money she could spend, who she could interact with -- essentially dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions."
Holmes' defense will argue that Balwani was “monitoring her calls, text messages and emails; physical violence, such as throwing hard, sharp objects at her; restricting her sleep; monitoring her movements; and insisting that any success she had was because of him.”
Balwani has denied such allegations, and his lawyers have argued to have their trials seperate because “Ms. Holmes’s evidence seeking to establish her innocence would require him to defend against not only the government’s case, but to defend against her allegations as well because her allegations are so inflammatory that they cannot be left unrebutted before the jury.”