Federal Judge TS Ellis has told Mueller’s lawyers that even a blind man can see that their strategy is to hit Manafort with as many charges as they can to try to get him to give up the president. The problem is, he doesn’t know anything to give him up on.
They’ve already tried this tactic on Gen Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos to no avail. Judge Ellis said that although the process is neither rare nor illegal, it is very distasteful. He said that Mueller is under pressure to get a high profile indictment, otherwise, his investigation appears to be a waste of time and money. Which it already is.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III made the comment in an opinion released this week that nonetheless sided with Mr. Mueller and against Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager. He rejected Mr. Manafort’s argument that the Mueller-brought tax-evasion indictment exceeded the special counsel’s authority and should be dismissed.
Judge Ellis, sitting in the Eastern District of Virginia, expressed dismay at the special counsel system and at Mr. Muellerin particular.
“Given the investigation’s focus on President Trump’s campaign, even a blind person can see that the true target of the Special Counsel’s investigation is President Trump, not defendant, and that defendant’s prosecution is part of that larger plan,” he wrote. “Specifically, the charges against defendant are intended to induce defendant to cooperate with the Special Counsel by providing evidence against the President or other members of the campaign. Although these kinds of high-pressure prosecutorial tactics are neither uncommon nor illegal, they are distasteful.”
Judge Ellis has been critical of the way Mueller has been conducting this investigation and his lawyers for their smugness and expectation that judges should roll over for them. Hopefully, the rest of the powers-that-be can see what Mueller is doing here, as well.