Mr. Evans took a few calls for work while I was visiting. I asked what he does. “A lot of different stuff, investing, starting companies,” he replied, without elaborating. How is Ms. Holmes paying her legal expenses? “I can’t,” she said. “I have to work for the rest of my life to try to pay for it.” I asked if Mr. Evans’s family was helping to cover her legal expenses. She shook her head no.
An earlier legal team quit after Ms. Holmes could not pay them. One pre-sentencing report by the government put her legal fees at more than $30 million. Ms. Holmes did not detail how those fees would be paid, and her current representatives at Williams & Connolly did not respond to emails asking about her financial arrangement.
Their toddler, William, recently had a 105-degree fever, the couple said. They raced him to the emergency room. The first thing the attending doctor said was, “You look a lot like that horrible woman.” Ms. Holmes looked at him with her piercing blue eyes, and said, “I’m sure you’re a better person than she is.” The doctor seemed to realize who he was talking to. She continued, “Then he said, ‘Are you Elizabeth Holmes?’ And I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘I am so sorry,’ and I said, ‘Don’t be, all you know is what you’ve read.’”
By Billy’s father, William L. Evans’s tally, there are “over 67,600,600” web results on Ms. Holmes, all of them negative, compared with “21 million results, many of which are positive” for Osama bin Laden, figures he wrote in a letter to the court. Ms. Holmes’s mother, Noel, said she stopped cold in a Barnes & Noble when she saw her daughter characterized in a book display as a “paranoid sociopath” who is “devoid of conscience.”
“Everybody got on the train that Elizabeth was evil, and it was great copy, and they took it and ran with it,” Ms. Holmes’s father, Christian, said.
Ms. Holmes’s defenders, stretching back to childhood, said in letters to the court, and in conversations with me, that the feverish coverage of Ms. Holmes’s downfall felt like a witch trial, less rooted in what actually happened at Theranos, and more of a message to ambitious women everywhere. Don’t girl boss too close to the sun, or this could happen to you …
“There’s an unspoken lesson for female executives: you’re allowed to be successful but not too successful,” Jackie Lamping, a Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sister of Ms. Holmes at Stanford, wrote in a letter to Judge Davila, who oversaw the trial.