One of the takeaways from the case against former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is that, if the special counsel wanted to introduce evidence trying to tie the wider Trump administration to Manafort’s alleged misdoings, the judge isn’t having any part of it.
In fact, things are getting so bad that the prosecutor is apparently breaking down in tears in court.
“I understand how frustrated you are,” Judge Ellis said during a discussion out of earshot of either the media or the jury. “In fact, there’s tears in your eyes right now.’’
Andres said that there weren’t, which prompted the response: “Well, they’re watery.”
That was just the latest bone of contention between prosecutors and the judge, who’s taken a dim view of the actions of the prosecution during the trial and has accused them of trying to enter irrelevant evidence involving Manafort’s lobbying in Ukraine.
Prosecutors have contended that he made $60 million between 2010 and 2014, a fact which Ellis has repeatedly ruled has no impact on the outcome of the case. After the exchange about the watery eyes, Ellis told Andres, “I want you to focus sharply on what you need to prove — to prove the crime. And I don’t understand what a lot of these questions have to do with it.”
Numerous clashes in the courtroom have also had to do with the demeanor of prosecutors. In one, Ellis again went after Andres for his inability to look him in the eyes
“Look at me when you’re talking to me,” Ellis told the prosecutor.
“I’m sorry, judge, I was,” Andres responded.
“No, you weren’t,” Ellis said. “You were looking down.”
“Because I don’t want to get in trouble for some facial expression,” he conceded. “I don’t want to get yelled at again by the court for having some facial expression when I’m not doing anything wrong, but trying my case.”
The latest bone of contention, according to The Washington Times, involved an expert witness who was allowed to sit in the courtroom all week watching the testimony in spite of the fact that Judge Ellis thought he had made it clear that no witnesses were allowed to watch testimonies.
In that case, Ellis apologized to the jury for the outburst and said it shouldn’t influence their opinions on the case.
Many courtroom observers have taken the prosecution’s side in this matter, arguing that Ellis is trying to tip the scales of justice. However, consider the fact that people who break down in tears generally aren’t on the side of righteousness.
What’s emerged so far during the trial, at least from this vantage point, is that whatever Paul Manafort has done in respects to Ukraine happened long before he became Trump’s campaign manager and that they had absolutely no bearing on the Trump campaign in any way. Nothing has been introduced aside from some innuendo which the bench hasn’t been willing to entertain.
If this is indeed part of a larger web that includes the Trump campaign — something anyone would concede is within the realm of possibility but looking more and more profoundly unlikely by the day — then introduce those facts in the special counsel report or in another prosecution.
So far, we’ve seen zero evidence that this had anything to do with collusion, no matter what sort of guilt-by-association tactics the prosecution is willing to use.
When even the the prosecutor is apparently crying over this matter, it looks more and more like some confirmation this is nothing more than a deep-state attempt to score points against the Trump administration at the expense of the facts.
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