This courtroom sketch depicts former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, left, listening with his lawyer Kevin Downing to testimony from government witness Rick Gates as Manafort's trial continues at federal court in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

The Latest: Judge contrite for scolding prosecutors

August 09, 2018 - 11:25 am

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

The federal judge overseeing the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort is expressing contrition a day after angrily confronting prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller in front of the jury.

Judge T.S. Ellis III has subjected the prosecution team to repeated tongue-lashings over the pace of their questioning, the massive trove of their evidence and even their facial expressions during bench conferences.

But Ellis is acknowledging to jurors that he went overboard when criticizing prosecutors for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial. Ellis says he was likely in error and jurors should "put aside" his criticism.

The judge's comments come after prosecutors said in a written filing that Ellis had authorized Welch to watch the trial and the reprimand could have prejudiced the jury.

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10:35 a.m.

Prosecutors in Paul Manafort's trial say the judge incorrectly admonished them in front of the jury and they want him to correct the error.

Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller's office say in a written filing that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III was wrong to scold them on Wednesday for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial.

Ellis had erupted on the prosecutors during the testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch, saying he hadn't authorized Welch to watch the trial. Witnesses are usually excluded from watching unless allowed by the judge.

Prosecutors attached a transcript showing that in fact Ellis had approved the request a week before. They say his outburst prejudiced the jury by suggesting they had acted improperly.

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12:28 a.m.

The cross-examination of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's protégé ended after the defense renewed its attack on Rick Gates' credibility.

In three days of testimony, Gates acknowledged cheating on his wife, stealing from Manafort and initially lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling.

Following Gates' testimony, prosecutors resumed trying to make their case for financial fraud by Manafort through documentary evidence to demonstrate his control of offshore bank accounts containing millions of dollars not reported to the IRS as required by U.S. law.

An IRS agent, Michael Welch, testified that Manafort didn't report at least $16 million on his tax returns between 2010 and 2014. He also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.

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