I’m not sure whether or not it’s prejudicial as a technical matter. But I agree with the larger point from TPM Reader NB …
I read Tierney Sneed’s account of judge Ellis arguing that the term oligarch was derogatory and he didn’t want it used in front of the jury with some shock and dismay.
“We’re not going to have this case tried that he associated with despicable people,” Ellis said, referring to Manafort.
“That’s not the American way,” Ellis added.
I read this only a few hours after reading Franklin Foer’s latest piece, where he puts Manafort in the center of the larger drama that has played out since the fall of the Soviet Union, where instead of exporting the freedom and transparency of our financial system, we have imported the corruption and kleptocracy we thought we were fighting against.
The point being that Manafort didn’t just associate with despicable people, his whole racket was making their despicability not just possible, but acceptable.