The federal judge presiding over charges brought against Paul Manafort, a former campaign aide to President Trump, has challenged the integrity of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III recently accused Mueller’s team of trying to take down Trump and seeking “unfettered power” in the investigation. Manafort faces tax and bank fraud-related charges for work unrelated to the Trump campaign.
“You don't really care about Mr. Manafort,” Ellis told Mueller’s team on May 4. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever."
Read on for a look at who Ellis is.
He took over the Manafort case in March
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Ellis began to preside over an indictment against Manafort in March.
At the time, he suggested Manafort faced "the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.” He also said Manafort “poses a substantial flight risk” due to his “financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large.”
Ellis ordered Manafort to be confined to his home with a GPS monitoring device. He also ordered a $10 million unsecured bond.
Ellis was appointed to the federal bench by Reagan
Former President Ronald Reagan appointed Ellis to the federal bench in 1987 and was confirmed by the Senate that same year.
He garnered senior status in 2007, according to the Federal Judicial Center.
His past cases include the ‘American Taliban’
Ellis sentenced John Walker Lindh, who was then 21 years old, to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to his activity with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lindh, from California, told the judge he provided "services as a soldier to the Taliban ... and in the course of doing so [he] carried a rifle and two grenades.”
The judge also threw out a case in 2006 involving a German citizen who alleged he was taken and beaten by the CIA. Ellis rejected the suit, not necessarily because of the validity of the allegations, but because of national security.
“In times of war, our country, chiefly through the executive branch, must often take exceptional steps to thwart the enemy,” Ellis said.
He served in the Navy
Ellis served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1966, according to the Federal Judicial Center.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Ellis graduated from Princeton University before getting his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law. He also studied law at the University of Oxford Faculty of Law.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.