Banker says he was pressed to lend Manafort $16M

Adjust Comment Print

Ellis III interjected: "You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted".

While it's unclear what, if any, effect Judge Ellis' remarks and criticism may have on the outcome of the trial, the filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team seems to indicate that the possibility is a concern, and one Mueller hopes to negate.

As Law&Crime's Colin Kalmbacher reported of the courtroom happenings on Wednesday, Judge Ellis appeared to have forgotten that he had allowed a witness to sit in and hear testimony.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has subjected special counsel Robert Mueller's team to repeated tongue-lashings over the pace of their questioning, the massive trove of their evidence and even their facial expressions.

Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann and other attorneys on the team specifically noted how Ellis made negative comments this week about their focus on a bank loan Manafort applied for but did not receive. Prosecutors said Ellis' crack "misrepresents the law" regarding bank conspiracy and "is likely to confuse the jury".

Calk called Raico on November 11, 2016, Raico testified, and told Raico that he hadn't heard from Manafort in a couple of days and that he thought that he would "possibly be up for some role" in the Trump administration.

Gates was indicted along with Manafort, but pleaded guilty and has been co-operating with Mueller's investigation. The outburst came when Judge Ellis learned that a witness may have been in the courtroom during another witness' testimony, and told the jury that the prosecution had acted improperly in allowing this, defying courtroom procedures. "You may put that aside..."

That truce between the judge and prosecutors, though, did not last long.

More news: Smoking ban to go in effect for public housing July 31
More news: Strong winds continue to fuel California wildfires
More news: Elon Musk says taking Tesla private is 'best path forward'

NBC's Pete Williams also reported that prosecutors want Ellis to "explain to the jury that he was out of line when he reprimanded them over allowing an IRS agent witness to watch other testimony", according to NBC's Ken Dilanian. Along the way, they've not only faced an aggressive defence team but tongue-lashings, and a rare walk-back, from Ellis.

"I know that", Ellis said.

When asked by prosecutor Greg Andres whether he had ever seen a loan approved in that short amount of time, Raico replied, "No".

When Andres denied Ellis' claim, the judge said, "Well, they're watery".

"Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there", Manafort wrote in the email, referencing his daughter.

The prosecution had been expected to wrap up its case by Friday afternoon.

Melinda James, a Citizens Bank mortgage loan assistant, testified that Manafort told the bank that a New York City property would be used as a second residence, but she found it listed as a rental on a real estate website.

Friday's unexplained delay has sparked speculation among observers that there could be discussions about a potential plea deal.