Manafort prosecutors say judge wrongly admonished them

U.S. & World
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Kevin Downing, right, attorney for Paul Manafort, leaves federal court after attending the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of the former Donald Trump campaign chairman in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) – 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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