SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Newly-released text messages in the Theranos fraud trial could shed light on the relationship between founder Elizabeth Holmes and her business partner and ex-boyfriend.
The texts between Holmes and Sunny Balwani were exchanged in May of 2015. It was a time when the two were trying to find out who leaked sensitive company information to the media questioning Theranos' faulty blood analyzer technology.
Holmes texted to Balwani: "You are breeze in desert for me" [sic]
"My water. And ocean. Meant to be only together tiger."
"Madly in love with you and your strength."
Balwani texted back: "Missing you too"
He then shifted to their hunt for the leakers:
"Down to 5 people"
"Will nail this mother------"
Legal experts say the texts may not have a significant impact, since expressions of affection don't rule out the possibility of an abusive relationship, which is expected to be a key defense strategy.
"It's hard to know how these things will play to the jury," said Stanford Law Professor David Sklansky. "There was a time when the disclosure that a woman had expressed affection for a man would be the death knell of any claim of abuse in court. I hope we're beyond that point."
But the texts could hurt another defense strategy which will try to place blame for the company's misfortunes solely on Balwani, who will be tried separately next year.
"It suggests that she and Balwani were working together to hunt down leakers which A, tends to suggest consciousness of guilt and B, that Holmes was just ceding control and decision making to Balwani."
The trial is expected to resume next week, after being cancelled on Friday due to COVID concerns. A juror may have had a close contact with someone with COVID, but that juror is vaccinated and doesn't have any symptoms, according to the court.
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