"I am going to call my witnesses at once"

Comic Sketch of Cicero in the Senate, by John Leech
Public DomainComic Sketch of Cicero in the Senate, by John Leech - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This was not an illegal move, but also did not follow the customary process of a Roman trial, which was as follows:

1)      Long speech from the prosecution

2)      Long speech from the defence

3)      (speeches by juniors may have followed)

4)      Witnesses and evidence

5)      Second part of trial introduced by more long speeches from prosecution and defence!

 Cicero skipped the first speech of the defence by going straight to the witnesses, stopping Hortensius from drawing out the trial indefinitely.