Manafort trial judge frustrated by prosecutors’ pace
Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and Judge T.S. Ellis III argued Wednesday over the admission of evidence in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Tension between Judge Ellis and prosecutor Greg Andres has been common throughout the trial. But Wednesday morning’s argument was particularly heated.
Mr. Andres sought to show jurors charts detailing how money flowed from offshore accounts controlled by Mr. Manafort to his creditors in the U.S.
The next witness, an FBI accountant, was to testify about the charts.
Manafort’s attorneys objected, saying the chart merely repeated evidence presented by other witnesses.
Mr. Andres told Judge Ellis that the agent spent a great deal of time putting the charts together.
“It isn’t relevant that she spent her life doing it,” the judge shot back.
Judge Ellis, who had been badgering prosecutors to speed up their case, told Mr. Andres that he needed to “focus sharply.”
“As a concession to the shortness of life, we need to get it done,” he snapped.
“We have been focused sharply for a long time,” Mr. Andres said, visibly frustrated.
Manafort attorney Richard Westling said he would write a stipulation for the jurors regarding one of the charts.
Mr. Andres became more flustered, telling Judge Ellis he was “at a loss” as to why the defense would offer a stipulation now. He said Mr. Manafort’s attorneys have had the chart for about a month.
It would be quicker to let the FBI agent testify instead of writing a stipulation, Mr. Andres said.
Judge Ellis ultimately allowed Mr. Andres to question the agent, but cautioned that he would hear any objections from the bench.
“Neither side is going to profit,” Judge Ellis said over the decision to hear objections from the bench.
He then urged Mr. Andres to proceed quickly with the agent.
“Judges should be patient,” Judge Ellis said. “They made a mistake when they confirmed me.”
Earlier this week, Judge Ellis suggested Mr. Andres was crying during a bench conference. When Mr. Andres said he wasn’t, Judge Ellis told him his eyes were “watery.”