Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former executive director of Theranos, arrives for a hearing in the U.S. District Court in the Federal Building of Robert F. Peckham in San Jose, California on Monday, November 4, 2019.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Elizabeth Holmes had a six-week delay in starting her trial on Wednesday when the government said news that she was pregnant and expected to have a child in July was blind.

The process will now begin on August 31st.

Holmes appeared on a Zoom call Wednesday in which US assistant attorney Robert Leach said prosecutors learned of Holmes’ pregnancy on March 2. “It’s frustrating and disappointing to find out about it now.”

Holmes, the former CEO of Theranos, would have been five months pregnant at this point.

Despite repeated delays in the trial, defense attorney Kevin Downey said Holmes was “eager to contest the charges. Based on medical advice we received to set that schedule at a pace that would be more aggressive than six weeks after birth,” said Holmes and not recommended. “

The unexpected news leads some legal experts to wonder if a new mother will help sway a jury in Holmes’ favor.

“Conscious or unconscious, judges, prosecutors, and jurors, may be concerned about the impact of maternal imprisonment on a newborn baby just as they do not when the accused is male,” said Danny Cevallos, NBC legal analyst.

“Being a new mom can only help the jury express their sympathy,” he said.

Holmes faces a dozen fraud allegations over her late Silicon Valley startup. She founded Theranos and promised to revolutionize health care as a 19-year-old Stanford dropout. Theranos was once worth $ 9 billion and a star-studded board before a 2018 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed the unproven technology.

“If they are convicted, their lawyers will take their motherhood to the judge, even if their detention guidelines call for detention,” said Cevallos.

A research study by Sonja Starr, professor of criminal law at the University of Chicago, shows that statistically speaking, a woman is less likely to be convicted and less likely to receive a longer prison sentence than a man.

Their results show “dramatic unexplained gender differences in federal criminal matters. On the condition that men are arrested, have criminal offenses and other observable criminal records, men receive an average of 63 percent longer prison sentences than women. Women are significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. “

Their study goes on to say, “Mentioning childcare decreased the judges’ likelihood of recommending prison.”

“In short, the interaction between marital status and gender seems to be more substantial than the only formal legal mechanism for dealing with family difficulties can explain.”

When questions were raised on whether being a new mom will help her on the jury, former Holmes employees told CNBC they weren’t surprised by the news about her pregnancy. Holmes had dated the hotel heir, Billy Evans, but the father’s identity is unknown.

If convicted, Holmes could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.