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Judge Ellis: I was ‘probably wrong’ to scold prosecutors over witness in Manafort trial

August 9, 2018

Judge T.S. Ellis III on Thursday said he was “probably wrong” for his earlier dustup with prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office over the introduction of an expert witness in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort.

“I was critical of counsel ...for allowing an expert to remain in the courtroom,” he said. “I may have well been wrong.”

On Wednesday Judge Ellis tire into prosecutors after they revealed a witness, IRS agent Michael Welch, had been watching the Manafort trial from the courtroom.

Judge Ellis erupted telling prosecutor Uzo Asoyne that he forbids witnesses from watching trials in all cases.

“Don’t do that again,” he bellowed at Mr. Asoyne.

However, the judge was more conciliatory Thursday. He told jurors to ignore his admonishment of Mr. Asoyne.

“The court’s reprimand of government counsel suggested to the jury incorrectly that the government had acted improperly and in contravention of court rules,” Judge Ellis said. “This prejudice should be cured.”

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