Happy New Year! I am back after taking a break to recuperate from a 9-week health care fraud trial in the Southern District of Florida.
Some news and notes to start 2022:
- Following the COVID-19 Omicron variant surge over the holidays, Big Law is postponing the return to office indefinitely. Quinn Emanuel and Mintz Levin are just two of many firms delaying their return to office plans. Many speculate that the continued delays will result in a permanent hybrid (office and home based) workplace.
- Trial of Elizabeth Holmes ends in conviction. Holmes is accused of defrauding investors and patients with false claims that she had blood testing machines that could conduct a full range of tests with only a few drops of blood. Following 14 weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated for 7 days. The jury convicted Holmes of 3 counts of wire fraud and 1 conspiracy count. The jury found Holmes not guilty on 3 fraud counts and 1 conspiracy count related to defrauding patients. The jury was deadlocked on 3 wire fraud counts. The verdict suggest the jurors split the baby, which often happens after long trials. Now, the real question is whether Holmes will cooperate with the government in order to mitigate her sentence. Holmes’ co-defendant, Sunny Balwani, was charged in the same Indictment as Holmes. Balwani sought and was granted a severance from Holmes because Holmes was expected to (and did) accuse Balwani of mental and emotional abuse during her trial. The severance might work against Balwani and favor the government.
- Trial of Ghislaine Maxwell ends in conviction. Jury convicted Ghislaine Maxwell of federal sex trafficking for helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually assault teen girls. Maxwell was convicted of 5 out of 6 charges. Because the federal government is investigating others connected to Epstein, Maxwell, like Holmes, has the opportunity to mitigate a long prison sentence by cooperating. However, a deal will require Maxwell to admit guilt. Maxwell’s family has already made clear to various media outlets that Maxwell will maintain her innocence and will not cut a deal. See Maxwell Will Not Reveal Names.