When things just aren’t going your way, it can become time step back and reevaluate your tactics, mission, and goals.
Not for Robert Mueller, however, whose team is making an unusual plea in their first case of courtroom blues.
Mueller, who is charged with the task of proving that the President of the United States has been compromised by the Russian government, is currently embroiled in a small-beans court case against loose Trump acquaintance Paul Manafort, that seems to have little, if any, connection to the Russian conspiracy theory at all. This case has been a source of constant bemusement over the last few weeks, as Mueller and his team continue to run into dead ends both in their investigation and with the no-nonsense judge in the Manafort case.
Now, in order to keep their mission on the rails, Mueller’s team is trying a new tactic: Whining.
Several other setbacks have come courtesy of the cantankerous presiding federal judge, T.S. Ellis III.
The 78-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee has repeatedly tweaked Mueller’s team, on everything from the logic of their assertions to a prosecutor’s informality in answering a question with a “yeah” instead of “yes.” He has hurried along their case and blocked them from introducing some evidence of Manafort’s lavish lifestyle.
Mueller’s team even filed a formal written protest on Thursday about the judge’s behavior, complaining that prosecutors were being unfairly called out in front of the jury.
The jury and not Ellis will decide Manafort’s fate. But the rulings and commentary of a seasoned judge are sure to have influence over jurors.
For such a “slam dunk” case against Manafort, (their words, certainly not mine), it sure does seem like Robert Mueller expected things to go a bit more smoothly.
Not to mention the fact that complaining about the judge presiding over your case is a whole lot like arguing strikes and balls with a seasoned umpire: It will eventually get you tossed right out of the game.
In either analogy, I’d be sure to stock up on popcorn.