The crux of the Elizabeth Holmes legend is that she was just a kid when she started a company that was at one point valued at $10 billion. Holmes was 19 when she dropped out of Stanford to start Theranos. Holmes worked with her then-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Balwani is 19 years older than Holmes; she was barely out of high school when they met. Years after Theranos crashed and burned—and the couple broke up—Holmes and Balwani face charges of fraud linked to raising enormous amounts of money to fund a company that promised a miracle blood-testing device that never worked. Holmes’ trial, delayed for her pregnancy, is set to start next week. Her lawyers plan to argue that while she was CEO of Theranos, Balwani was emotionally and sexually abusing her, NPR reports.
A document filed Saturday by Holmes’ lawyers is heavily redacted, but mentions that the Theranos CEO plans use the testimony of Mindy Mechanic, and expert in intimate partner abuse. Balwani’s lawyers also filed a motion that refers to Holmes’, detailing some of the allegations. It says Holmes accuses Balwani, then her boyfriend, of “monitoring her calls, text messages, and emails; physical violence, such as throwing hard, sharp objects at her; restricting her sleep,” and other details, including a mention of sexual abuse. The pattern of abuse gave her PTSD and other mental health issues, the filing says. Holmes’ lawyers say she is likely to take the stand and testify on her own behalf. (Read more Theranos stories.)