Manafort case judge admonishes 'disruptive' reporters during trial

The federal judge in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Monday threatened to kick reporters out of the courtroom if they continue being “disruptive.”

“If you cause a disruption, I will have you excluded!” U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said.

The warning came after multiple reporters rushed out of the courtroom at the same time Monday after it was announced that Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner, would testify Monday.


Under rules, reporters covering the trial cannot use phones or laptops in the courtroom and must go outside to transmit news from inside.

Gates, considered a star witness against Manafort, struck a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate in the case against his former business partner. The usually-bearded Gates appeared in court clean-shaven on Monday.

During opening arguments last week, the defense team made it clear it intended to blame Gates, who handled some day-to-day business operations for Manafort, for many of the alleged reporting deficiencies with which Manafort is charged.

Manafort, facing charges of bank and tax fraud related to his work in Ukraine, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ellis, a 78-year-old Reagan-appointed judge, is known for his colorful comments.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez contributed to this report.