Judge T.S. Ellis, a Reagan appointee, became very irritated with Mueller’s prosecutors Wednesday as they droned on an on over Manafort’s lavish lifestyle and his expensive suits.
Mueller’s thugs used the same tactic, shaming Manafort for owning a $15,000 coat made of Ostrich in Tuesday’s opening statement which drew a rebuke from Judge Ellis.
“It isn’t a crime to have money and be profligate with your spending,” Judge Ellis said to Mueller’s hack lawyer, Asonye.
On Wednesday Mueller’s lawyers took a beating from Judge Ellis after they went into detail about Manafort’s spending habits, whining about his expensive suits and how he paid for them via wire transfer–as if that’s somehow illegal.
Maximillian Katzman, 29, the manager of a luxury menwear store in New York City, testifies that Paul Manafort spent more than $929,000 on suits between 2010 and 2014. He was the store’s only customer to pay using wire transfers from foreign accounts.
— Rachel Weiner (@rachelweinerwp) August 1, 2018
At one point, Judge Ellis became so irritated with Mueller’s thugs fixating on Manafort’s spending habits, he interrupted the prosecutor and sternly said, “Let’s move on. Enough is enough. They can add.”
Ronald Wall tallied for the jury the total amount that Paul Manafort spent on House of Bijan items, including a Limited Edition black titanium Royal Way watch — with crystal, an invoice noted.
Between 2010 and 2012, Wall told the jury that Manafort spent more than $334,000 at the luxury menswear store. He then walked the jury through documents showing that the invoices were paid from Cyprus-based bank accounts held by Global Highway Limited, Yiakora Ventures Limited and Lucicle Consultants.
House of Bijan in Beverly Hills bills itself as “the world’s most expensive store.” Ronald Wall, its chief financial officer and prosecutors’ fourth witness Wednesday, took the stand to testify that Paul Manafort was a top client of the luxury clothier.
“I knew he was a very good customer,” said Wall.
Prosecutors did not focus simply on the purchases themselves, but rather, how Manafort paid for them — via wire transfers. Like the previous witness, Wall said many customers paid with credit cards, checks and sometimes cash, but it was unusual for a client to pay with wire transfers, as Manafort regularly did at House of Bijan.
Wall testified that House of Bijan was an exclusive retailer: its clothing is only sold in its store and the items are made in Italy by less than two dozen companies the retailer has built a relationship.
Judge Ellis grew impatient with Mueller’s prosecutors for shaming Manafort for buying expensive suits via wire transfer and said, “You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he signed tax documents to show he knowingly didn’t represent his true income.”
Manafort spent nearly $104,000 in 2010, and more than $444,000 in 2013. Added up, the figures show Manafort spent more than $929,000 on luxury menswear during the five-year period, paid for from foreign bank accounts.
Judge T.S. Ellis III continued to show impatience with questions from prosecutors that he believed were intended merely to display Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. For instance, he allowed Katzman to describe Manafort’s annual spending but not to add up the total for jurors.
“Let’s move on. Enough is enough,” Ellis said sternly. “They can add.”
Katzman testified that Manafort’s payments came from accounts under the name Yiakora Ventures Limited and Global Highway Limited, both Cyrpus-based accounts prosecutors will argue were controlled by Manafort.
Judge Ellis also denied Mueller’s prosecutor Asonye’s request to show the jury photos of Manafort’s expensive suits. That’s totally irrelevant, Judge Ellis said, once again scolding Mueller’s thug.
In another huge blow to Mueller’s team, Judge Ellis ruled that prosecutors cannot enter an invoice for proposed home renovations, WaPo reported.
“All this document shows is that Mr. Manafort had a lavish lifestyle, he had a nice home with a pool and a gazebo — it’s not relevant,” Judge Ellis said.
Judge Ellis knows Mueller and his hack lawyers are trying to ‘get Trump’ by squeezing Manafort; so far he’s not impressed with the prosecutors’ approach on day two of the Manafort trial.
Manafort faces a maximum of 305 years in prison if he is convicted on all charges.