From the outset of Paul Manafort’s bank and tax fraud trial, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III established himself as a force inside his federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia.

Far from sitting back and simply ruling on objections, Ellis often injected himself into the proceedings. Occasionally, he asked witnesses questions. He prodded prosecutors to pick up their pace, revealing from his own corner of the Albert V. Bryan Courthouse why the federal district court here is known as the “rocket docket.”

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