Judge Scolds Mueller’s Team for Hyping Paul Manafort’s Spending on Fancy Suits

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It took until the second day of Paul Manafort‘s trial for the Judge T.S. Ellis III to dish out a rebuke, and it happened after Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s prosecutors talked up the priciness of Manafort’s suit collection.

“The government doesn’t want to prosecute someone because they wear nice clothes, do they? Let’s move on. That’s enough,” Eric Tucker of the Associated Press transcribed the judge’s words.

Judge Ellis was not messing around.

Indeed, Manafort’s suit spending was a topic broached by Mueller’s prosecutors.

Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post said that luxury menswear store employee Maximillian Katzman testified in court on Wednesday that Manafort spent nearly $1 million on suits between 2010 and 2014, using wire transfers from foreign accounts,

Katzman said Manafort was the only customer to do this.

Ellis also reportedly criticized lawyers for rolling their eyes. It’s not clear who he is referring to, but given that it’s the government going into specifics about luxury stores Manafort frequented it seems like he is criticizing the government for name-dropping.

If you’ve been reading Law&Crime lately, you would know that we warned Manafort’s attorneys not to get cute with this judge. You would also know that we’ve described Ellis as an equal opportunity smackdown artist, and the government found that out the hard way today — again.

Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) began on July 31. After a jury a of six men and six women was quickly selected, opening statements were made on Tuesday. Manafort faces bank and tax fraud charges in this district.

He is otherwise scheduled to appear at trial in Washington, D.C. this coming September.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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