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Theranos Trial: Elizabeth Holmes Describes Relationship With COO Sunny Balwani, Alleges Abuse

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – In her fourth day on the witness stand, former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes on Monday described how her relationship with boyfriend and business partner Sunny Balwani was abusive.

A tearful Holmes cried and stuttered as she recounted for the jury how she was raped at Stanford during her freshman year and how she processed that experience by dedicating herself to building a life by building a company.

Holmes said she met Balwani when she was 18 and that he mentored her in business.  The two later had a live-in romantic relationship.

She went on to tell the jury that Balwani became controlling, told her how to act, to be more masculine to succeed in business and would sometimes force her into sex.

Holmes said she took detailed notes of abusive episodes on her phone, which was shown to the jury.

Theranos Trial
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes appears outside court during her trial, November 29, 2021. (CBS)

"It's very compelling evidence, and it certainly goes to whether she could form the intent to defraud," said former prosecutor and Legal Analyst Michele Hagan.

Holmes said she became more and more isolated from her family and friends.

She said it was around this time when Theranos was having problems with its blood tests, which were rolling out in Walgreens.

Holmes said she moved out of the home she shared with Balwani while he was on a foreign business trip and later fired him.

"If that's true, that she fired him, then maybe that's inconsistent with him being controlling of her," Hagan said.

The prosecution will get a chance to cross examine Holmes starting on Tuesday.

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