Life after Theranos: What 130 personal letters to sentencing judge reveal about Elizabeth Holmes

ByLiz Kreutz KFSN logo
Thursday, November 17, 2022
How long could former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes go to prison?
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is set to be sentenced on Friday. She was found guilty of four counts of fraud earlier this year.

SAN FRANCISCO -- New court documents filed by attorneys for former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes provide a fascinating look into Holmes' life since the fall of her blood-testing start-up.

Ahead of her sentencing on Friday, Holmes - who was found guilty on four counts of fraud earlier this year and faces several years in prison - has sent the court 130 letters from her family, friends and some former colleagues offering up their accolades of her and support.

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Among them is a lengthy letter from Holmes' life partner - hotel heir Billy Evans - that includes photos and personal anecdotes of Holmes, who he calls Liz and describes as "the best person I have ever met."

The government also sent the judge victim impact statements against Holmes. According to reporter John Carreyrou, who first broke the Theranos story in the Wall Street Journal in 2015, one of those letters is from Holmes' own aunt who told the court she invested in Theranos and believes her niece should serve time.

Ellen Kreitzberg, an emeritus professor of law at Santa Clara University, said it's unclear how much, if at all, the letters in support of Holmes will impact the sentencing.

What is clear: there are some interesting new details about Holmes included in them.

Elizabeth Holmes met Billy Evans during Fleet Week

In his letter, Billy Evans describes meeting Elizabeth Holmes at a Fleet Week charity event in the fall of 2017. "I was captivated by her childish wonder and authenticity. She listened more intently than anyone I had ever met," he wrote.

He said he didn't realize who she was until she gave him her business card at the end of the night. "We were 'just friends'' for the first six months. "I was admittedly hesitant to dive in given all that had been said," he said. "I was naturally conflicted, the person I knew did not align with the narrative others had crafted."

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Holmes is pregnant again

The letters also confirm what many have speculated: Elizabeth Holmes is pregnant again.

In the letter, Evans writes about the 14-month-old son the two have together and he also confirms she is expecting again. He said last month she contracted COVID while pregnant and also wrote that earlier in the year, while pregnant, she had a plan to swim the Golden Gate Bridge.

Her dog Balto was killed by a mountain lion

In the final days of Theranos, Holmes famously got a new Husky she named "Balto" which she claimed was a wolf. Unfortunately, Evans reveals in his letter that Balto was killed by a mountain lion.

He wrote: "When our dog Balto had been carried away by a mountain lion from our front porch Liz had faith that he could still be alive. She searched for 16 hours in brambles, and poison oak to find him. It was only once she saw his lifeless body that she could come to realize that he was gone. It crushed her. I knew he was dead in those long-drawn-out hours searching but her certainty in the possibility of his survival gave me a sense of hope. But that's Liz for you, she's constantly hoping and working towards the best outcome, even if it is unlikely."

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Holmes and Evans spent six months traveling together in a van

Evans wrote in his letter that he and Holmes lived in a truck together for six months after their San Francisco address was made public.

"We spent six months traveling the national forests and parks of this country in a truck camping beneath the stars. While this nomadic life was my idea, Liz embraced the frenetic beauty of it, and we often reminisce about how it was the favorite place we ever lived. The peace and quiet out of the spotlight was refreshing. Walmart parking lots and rundown campgrounds gave us a much-needed solace. Winter came and it was time to find a more permanent solution."

She goes 'incognito' when out in public

Evans wrote about the toll the trial and the public attention around it has taken on him and Holmes. He said that when Holmes goes out in public she is "nearly always incognito."

"Large sunglasses, her hair tucked up beneath a baseball cap, head down. She walks through public places trying to hide, but it doesn't do much good," he wrote. "Once we were 5 miles down a trail in a national forest and a passerby took out their phone to snap a picture. It is incessant."

The argument Evans is making is that Holmes has already had to pay a price for her crimes. Ellen Kreitzberg, the professor emeritus at Santa Clara University School of Law, says it's unclear if that will make a difference for Holmes.

"It's complicated," she said. "Because in the early years she sought the media attention."

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Evans has lost friends over his relationship with Holmes

Evans wrote that he lost friendships and relationships with family members because of his relationship with Holmes.

He wrote: "I have had friends fade away without reason and family members who no longer associate with me. I have been uninvited from weddings. My son has been avoided by other families not wanting to expose their children to my family. I have had hundreds of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances hounded by reporters looking for a scoop. We sleep with our shutters closed, missing the beauty of each sunrise to help insure our privacy. This will follow us for the rest of our lives. There is no avoiding the scorn that accompanies Elizabeth Holmes."

Elizabeth Holmes is friends with Senator Cory Booker

Among the letters in support of Holmes, is one from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. He said he met Holmes six years before charges were brought against her.

"We first met at a public policy conference hosted by the late Senator John McCain, bonding at a dinner when we discovered we were both vegan - there was nothing to eat, and we shared a small bag of almonds," he wrote.

Booker quoted author Bryan Stephenson in asking the judge for a "fair and just" sentence for Holmes. "Bryan Stephenson has said, each of us is more than the worst thing we've done. I firmly believe in the possibility of rehabilitation and in the power of redemption for anyone," he said.

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Elizabeth Holmes volunteers on a Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline

One of the letters sent to the judge is from someone who said they work with sexual assault survivors. The person, whose name is retracted, told the judge that Elizabeth Holmes has recently started volunteering on the Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline, totaling 500 hours of service.

"She has served over 150 callers in that time," the person said.

Evans also alluded to Holmes' work with the crisis center in his letter. He wrote that when Holmes was taking calls for a crisis line, "and took multiple calls from women who were grappling with the greatest trauma of their lives," during a recent visit to the emergency room.

When Holmes took the stand during her trial, she revealed she was raped while a student at Stanford.

She is helping draft state legislation to help victims of sexual assault

Holmes is also apparently working on legislation to help victims of sexual assault.

Evans wrote in his letter: "Even this week she has spent hours working on draft state legislation to help ensure victims of sexual violence and rape will be granted their survivors rights and receive the care they need."

"She has turned her most painful personal experiences into a mission to help the thousands of voiceless men and women get access to resources that could change their lives, resources that were not afforded to her," he wrote.

To view and read all the letters, click here.

The video above is from a previous report.

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