Prosecutors continue to raise judges ire in Manafort trial
Two heated arguments between Judge T.S. Ellis III and prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team overshadowed a largely unremarkable Wednesday in the financial-fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.The prosecution's action seems strange. If Welch was a fact witness who they were trying to qualify as an expert, he should have been designated as such before the trial began. It sounds like they screwed up by letting him witness the testimony of others and tried to salvage him by claiming he was an expert. I can understand why Judge Ellis would be angry about that.
During afternoon testimony, prosecutor Uzo Asonye asked JudgeEllis whether IRS agent Michael Welch, who had reviewed Mr. Manafort’s tax filings, could testify as an expert witness. That would allow Mr. Welch to offer his opinion to the court instead of limiting his testimony to the factual record.
Mr. Asonye then disclosed that Mr. Welch had been sitting in the courtroom, watching Mr. Manafort’s trial play out.
JudgeEllis lost his temper at Mr. Asonye, yelling that he prohibits all witnesses from observing the proceedings and thought he had done so in the Manafort case.
Mr. Asonyne responded that he thought experts were allowed to watch the trial, but JudgeEllis insisted he bars that practice too.
“Let me clear, I don’t care what the transcript said … don’t do it again,” JudgeEllis barked.
Ultimately, JudgeEllis did allow Mr. Welch to testify, but issued a stern warning to Mr. Asonye and other prosecutors on Mr. Mueller’s team.
“I want you to remember, don’t do that again,” he snapped. “When I exclude witnesses, I mean everybody.”
It was the day’s second blow-up between JudgeEllis and the Mueller team.
Earlier, he exchanged words with prosecutor Greg Andres, who was seeking to show jurors some charts detailing how money flowed from offshore accounts controlled by Mr. Manafort to his creditors in the U.S.