Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes’s sometimes banal, sometimes cringeworthy text messages with former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani have been released as an exhibit in her criminal fraud trial.
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The government released the messages in anticipation that Holmes would try to blame Balwani for mismanagement of the company. Prosecutors said the texts support their argument that Balwani’s statements to federal regulators about his responsibilities at Theranos are “untrustworthy’” because they may been colored by his affection for Holmes.
The two had a 12-year relationship, and when Holmes took the stand for a fourth day on Monday she testified that Balwani inflicted sexual and emotional abuse on her for a decade. She faces cross-examination today.
The messages paint a picture of life for the couple: exchanges about meetings and staff attendance mix with flight details and updates on a pet fish — and many expressions of love.
Balwani is effusive, often offering encouragement, advice and prayers to Holmes.
Balwani: I know things are tough but don’t give up on your dreams. Keep focused and keep fighting. Plan, focus, stay organized and stay in control. One person who has a plan and executes can defeat an army.
Balwani: I know what you are thinking and going thru. Control your thoughts and don’t let fear control you. Breathe and in every hour be conscious of your breath and breath out fear.
Holmes: I love this.
In one exchange, he even suggests Holmes meet one-on-one with self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins: “He doesn’t do this but we can ask.”
For her part, Holmes’s responses are often short.
Balwani: Missing u in every breath and in every cell.
She uses “ditto” nine times in the texts that are part of the exhibit.
Balwani: My family sends love and prayers and u have prayers of thousands and thousands of people u have sever.