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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Theranos May Have Been Crazy. Holmes Probably Wasn’t.

Elizabeth Holmes will have a hard time proving an insanity defense. 

Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any crazier.

Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any crazier.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news that Elizabeth Holmes’s lawyers plan to present an insanity defense in her federal trial for criminal fraud is frankly astonishing.

Maybe the evidence against her is so strong that her lawyers are desperate. Or maybe they are hoping to follow a strategy of making the jury feel sympathy for her, giving them an excuse to acquit. But the reality is that it is extremely difficult for a defendant to prove insanity in federal court.