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Elizabeth Holmes' defense lawyers are asking their work in the Theranos fraud case be deemed 'essential' so they can defy lockdown orders

Elizabeth Holmes' defense lawyers are asking their work in the Theranos fraud case be deemed 'essential' so they can defy lockdown orders
Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune



The federal trial in the criminal case against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of failed blood-testing startup Theranos, is scheduled to start in July.




Holmes' lawyers recently asked the judge to rule the case as "essential," so that the defense team would be allowed to defy shelter-in-place orders and continue working to prepare for trial.




The judge told the lawyers in a recent telephone hearing he was "taken aback" by their demands, and declined to decide yet on whether he would delay the Theranos case.




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The lawyers defending Elizabeth Holmes, the founder behind the infamous blood-testing startup Theranos, are asking their case be deemed "essential," which would allow the defense team to defy multiple lockdown orders put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the criminal trial scheduled to begin in July. Defense attorneys say that under current shelter-in-place guidelines issued by several states, much of the work they need to do to prepare for the trial is considered "unlawful" and cannot be done "effectively," according to court documents.
The coronavirus pandemic has led many states — including California, where the trial is taking place and Holmes lives — to issue shelter-in-place orders for residents, close non-essential businesses, and prohibit public gatherings. Holmes' attorneys have asked that their work be considered "essential activities," which would allow them to be exempt from statewide orders and continue to travel, meet face-to-face, and interview witnesses.
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