That's pretty devastating for the prosecution. But I feel pretty strongly that judges should not be questioning witnesses. It's just not their role. And jurors tend to defer to judges. Most times, judges do it to cover for prosecution mistakes and it hurts the defense, especially during a strong cross of a government witness. No one really complains when this happens... the complaints only seem to crop up when the prosecution is getting hurt. Either way, though, judges should let the lawyers do the questioning.Just before the jury left for the day, Rick Gates echoed other prosecution witnesses in saying Paul Manafort kept a close eye on his financial affairs.“Mr. Manafort in my opinion kept fairly frequent updates,” Gates said, after a discussion of movement between their consulting firm’s offshore accounts. “Mr. Manafort was very good at knowing where the money was and where it was going.”Judge Ellis, as he has repeatedly, interjected.“He didn’t know about the money you were stealing,” Ellis said, “so he didn’t do it that closely.”The comment by the judge goes to a question at the heart of the trial — how much fraud could possibly have gone on under Manafort’s nose without his knowledge.Downing also challenged Gates on his acceptance of responsibility, pointing out that he has not repaid the money he stole from Manafort.“I spent it over the years,” Gates said.
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Should judges ask questions of witnesses?
We're back on the Manafort trial. Lead snitch Rick Gates is on the stand and is getting hammered for his lies. Even the judge took part. From the Washington Post: