Defense lawyers for Elizabeth Holmes ask judge for leniency

One week before disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is set to be sentenced for defrauding investors in her failed blood testing company, her defense team is pleading with the judge for leniency.

Holmes’s attorney requested Judge Edward Davila sentence her to 18 months in prison followed by supervised release.

Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy in January.

"We ask that the court consider, as it must, the real person, the real company and the complex circumstances surrounding the offense," Holmes’ attorneys wrote in a 82 page filing.

The sentencing memo included a 282 pages of letters from 130 family members, friends and acquaintances.

Her husband Billy Evans wrote an impassioned letter to the judge, saying "If you are to know Liz, it is to know that she is honest, humble, selfless, and kind beyond what most people have ever experienced. Please let her be free." 

Evans’ letter was followed by pleas from Holmes’ parents, brother and long-time friends of the 38-year-old, one-time billionaire.

Sen. Cory Booker D-NJ, even penned a letter to the judge, saying he knew Holmes and "she was not only sincere about her interests but a person who would indeed dedicate herself to making positive contribution in the world beyond her company."

Judge Davila this week denied three last ditch efforts by Holmes’ team seeking a new trial. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18.

Her co-defendant and former boyfriend Sunny Balwani, 57, was convicted of 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in a separate trail. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 7.

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky