Ms Holmes tried to link her relationship with Mr Balwani to his fraud accusations by saying he had an impact on “everything about who I was,” including Theranos. She said she pushed him out of the business and broke up with him after learning that Theranos’ lab, which Mr. Balwani oversaw, had major problems.
“I had no way of saving our business if he was there,” she said Tuesday.
Mr. Balwani has denied the assault charges. He was charged with fraud alongside Ms Holmes and will be tried separately next year. He also pleaded not guilty.
During a long and detailed day of testimony, Mr Leach lingered on the relationship, using text messages between Ms Holmes and Mr Balwani as evidence. He asked Ms Holmes to read text messages which showed her exchanging affectionate remarks with Mr Balwani. The couple called each other “tiger” and “tigress” between encouraging discussions about building Theranos.
“No one other than you and I can start this business,” Mr. Balwani wrote in an exchange.
After each one, Mr Leach asked Ms Holmes to check that she had just read an example of Mr Balwani acting lovingly towards her. As she read the messages, Mrs Holmes cried a second time at the bar.
Jill Hasday, a University of Minnesota Law School professor who has written a book on intimate partner violence and the law, said the prosecution’s tactics could help undermine Ms. Holmes’ previous testimony, according to the jurors’ understanding of the abuse.
“My hunch is that it can be effective because people have a lot of misconceptions about intimate partner violence, among other things that it is constant,” Ms. Hasday said.
The trial, which is due to end in December, resumes next week.
Erin Woo contributed reports.