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Appeals court rejects bid by convicted Theranos exec Balwani to delay prison

Prosecutors seek April 20 reporting date for former COO of now-dissolved blood-testing company
Court gavel-Pexels

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected an effort by convicted Theranos executive Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani to delay serving his prison term until his appeal is decided.

In a one-page order issued late Thursday afternoon, April 6, the federal appeals court held that Balwani had not raised a "substantial question" of law or fact that is "fairly debatable" and that any errors in the trial were not likely to result in reversal or a prison sentence that would be shorter than the time it takes for the appeal to play out.

Balwani, the former president and chief operating officer of Theranos in Palo Alto, was convicted of 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy for making false statements to investors and patients about the company's fingerstick blood-testing technology.

Following the trial, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila sentenced Balwani to a prison term of 12 years and nine months.

That term was to start on March 16, but an emergency motion by Balwani's lawyers to the 9th Circuit automatically suspended his reporting date.

Later on Thursday evening, Balwani's lawyers, stating that their client needs time to get his "affairs in order," filed a motion with Davila asking the court to set a new reporting date of April 20.

Balwani's co-conspirator and former lover, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, has filed her own motion to delay the start of her prison term, currently set to begin on April 27.

Davila promised a ruling on that motion sometime in April.

Should the judge deny the motion, Holmes, too, can seek an emergency order from the 9th Circuit that would, in turn, delay her surrender date while the higher court decides if bail is appropriate.

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