U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, a Reagan appointee and a former Naval Aviator is a disgrace to the court and Paul Manafort will be lucky to get a fair trial. Judge Ellis has a problem, here is a quote, you decide:
“I’m a Caesar in my own Rome,” he continues, “And it’s a small Rome.”
This is what Judge Ellis told a defendant, a person who is being accused of a crime, So much for a fair trial.
Judge Ellis is a 30-year veteran of the bench who is well-known in legal circles for his colorful commentary and his unique style. A Judge shouldn’t be known for anything except ensuring fair trials. Their personality shouldn’t be an issue.
The Judge at times stunned observers and stole the spotlight in Manafort’s trial. I shouldn’t have to say this, but the spotlight shouldn’t be on the Judge, it should be focused on Mueller and Manafort’s legal team. This is almost as bad as Judge Lance Ito during the O.J. Simpson trial.
It looks as if Ellis is trying to make a legacy for himself.
His barbed remarks have made headlines in all the newspapers; Ellis has warned attorneys on both sides to “rein in your facial expressions.” The judge’s behavior could have a significant impact on the jurors assigned to the case.
Jurors view the judge as the arbiter of fairness and appropriate conduct, this is the main job of a judge. Inferences by the judge that the prosecution or defense is not playing by the rules can sway the jury or at least sway an individual on the jury. Inferences can also play into the defense’s strategy and spin the case as a classic case of government overreach.
So far (at this writing) the clear majority of a trial had been spent on the prosecution’s case since the prosecution has the burden of proof. Lawyers for Manafort, have not presented their defense as I write this, so I’m interested in how Ellis interacts with the other side as should you be too,
Judge Ellis in a surprise move, stated at the beginning of the trial that “These allegations clearly pre-date the appointment of the special counsel, none of it had any relation to the campaign.”
He also said, “We’re not going to have this case tried as ‘He associated with despicable people, therefore he’s a despicable person,'” that’s not the American way … Call them ‘financiers.'”
T.S. Ellis has berated prosecutors daily for perceived missteps and slights, he told the jury the next day to ignore one of his outbursts, saying he was “probably wrong.” The remarks that he instructed the jury to ignore were made the day before excoriating prosecutors for allowing an expert government witness to sit in the courtroom before he testified.
“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis said, referring to the barrage of criminal charges leveled against the former Republican political operative. “What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment. …The vernacular is to ‘sing.'”
This kind of rhetoric isn’t uncommon for the judge, he has a reputation for being tough on attorneys:
“He has torn my head off in front of my wife multiple times,” said Kevin Mikolashek, who recently left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria to start his own consulting firm.
“He is personally a Republican…but I literally cannot recall an instance where I thought that was an issue. He’s…a law-driven judge,” said Emily Martin, general counsel for the National Women’s Law Center and a former clerk for Ellis. She continues, “He’s actually had a lot of lefty clerks over the years.”
Judge Ellis is a big proponent of personal responsibility, “Life is making choices and living with the consequences of the choices we make.” This was the speech Ellis gave American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and gives the same speech to every guilty party.
It’s no wonder Ellis has received death threats about the case — and now travels with protection from the U.S. Marshal Service. He’s a Republican and tough on attorneys, tough on Mueller. If anything, the remark to Mueller’s team that may have sparked the death threats, “What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment. …The vernacular is to ‘sing” could signal that even the judge thinks Mueller’s probe is a witch hunt.
It may have been the one which put the left in panic mode, but we will see.
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