“I’m an emperor in my own Rome,” he said at one point and discussed why he refused to allow respondents not to request any competition instead of guilty. “It’s a pretty little Rome,” he added.
Some lawyers who have been in his courtroom say it’s better to let him get the last word instead of engaging in what is essentially contending about who has more intellectual firepower  Away from the tingshuset, lawyers said and former clerks, there is a softer side for the referee, not always visible from the bench. Judge Ellis is the first judge to chair a naturalization ceremony in the Arlington cemetery. He is known to grow emotionally every time he manages the marriage of citizenship.
He has clearly swallowed up in his captive audience, and can show a sense of comical time “My hearing is not what it once was”, he said last week and paused for a blow with comic effect. “Nothing is what it once was.” Born in Bogota, Colombia, he took the opportunity to show his fluency in Spanish, questioning the defendant himself while an interpreter was standing.
Although the spectators had come only for the Manafort case, he said, were glad that they had the chance to see the criminal justice system at work. He has resorted to a number of questions outside the courtroom, criticizing the conditions at a Virginia prison and questioning whether court laws are too hard.
For more than three decades on the bench, Judge Ellis’s presidency has a number of high profile cases: among them the spy case against lobbyists for the US Israeli Foreign Affairs Committee in 2009 and the corruption case of former rep. William J. Jefferson in Louisiana. In each case, the judge has practiced an acupatic white and ironic control of the courtroom.