Judge Doesn’t Want Word ‘Oligarch’ To Be Used In Manafort Trial

TPM Illustration. Photo by Getty Images/The Washington Post

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The federal judge overseeing the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort doesn’t want the word “oligarch” – which was invoked by both sides on Tuesday – to be used in front of the jury

In a back and forth between U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis and prosecutors at the start of Wednesday’s proceedings, the prosecutors argued that witnesses should be allowed to use the term in testimony.

Ellis ordered the government to file briefs to defend the use of the term, which he said was “pejorative.”

“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.

Federal prosecutor Greg Andres argued that “oligarch” was the word Manafort’s associates used to refer to the moguls who were financing their consulting work in Ukraine.

Manafort is being tried on multiple counts of bank and tax fraud arising out of his consulting work for pro-Russia political forces in Ukraine. He has pleaded not guilty. The case against Manafort is the first to come to trial in special counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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