Prosecutors had reminded Ellis following his scolding in entrance of the jury they’d mentioned permitting IRS income agent Michael Welch to take a seat within the courtroom.
“Put apart any criticism. I used to be in all probability unsuitable in that,” Ellis mentioned to kick off the trial proceedings Thursday morning. “This gown would not make me something apart from human.”
One of many extra attention-grabbing dynamics within the trial of Donald Trump’s former marketing campaign chairman has been the skirmishes between the decide and prosecutors. Whereas lots of them have been out of earshot of the jury, the decide has repeatedly expressed frustration with how the prosecution had offered its case towards Manafort.
When Mueller’s staff targeted on Manafort’s lavish purchases, Ellis declared that it was not against the law to be wealthy, refusing to permit prosecutors to show photos within the courtroom of his $15,000 ostrich jacket and different big-ticket objects.
And in a single outstanding trade that the jury didn’t hear, Ellis informed prosecutor Greg Andres to “take a look at me while you’re speaking to me,” after which instructed Andres had tears in his eyes.
“There are usually not tears in my eyes, decide,” Andres responded.
“Effectively, they’re watery,” Ellis shot again.
At occasions, Ellis has additionally sided towards the protection staff, akin to when he did not require former Manafort deputy Rick Gates to reply a query on Wednesday about whether or not he had 4 extramarital affairs, not simply the one he disclosed the day earlier than.
Prosecution nears the end line
Prosecutors are nearing the top of their case towards Manafort.
Mueller’s staff expects to name one other eight witnesses earlier than concluding its case and is on observe to wrap up by Friday.
The remaining witnesses embody bankers and others aware of Manafort’s actual property portfolio and money owed, they usually’re anticipated to dive into the gritty particulars of the prosecution’s case on financial institution and mortgage fraud.
The case is the primary that Mueller’s staff has delivered to court docket as a part of its investigation into Russian election interference in 2016. Whereas the fees aren’t associated to Manafort’s time on the marketing campaign, the trial is being eyed carefully by the President and his staff as they negotiate a possible interview between Trump and Mueller’s staff.
Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax and banking crimes and has pleaded not responsible to all prices.
The primary witness prosecutors referred to as Thursday — their 19th within the case — was Melinda James, a mortgage mortgage assistant from Residents Financial institution in New York, a financial institution that prosecutors say obtained false paperwork from Manafort’s associates once they sought a mortgage on a property in New York.