Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to one count of conspiracy and one count of lying to federal investigators.
Gates, the deputy to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, originally pleaded not guilty in October in federal court in Washington, D.C,. to a 12-count indictment brought by Robert Mueller, the special counsel. On Thursday, Gates and Manafort were charged with an additional 32 counts of bank and tax fraud.
Gates’ lawyer, Tom Green of Sidley Austin, did not comment as the two men left the courtroom Friday. Gates faces a maximum of five years in prison for each count, as well as three years of supervised release for each. Pursuant to federal sentencing guidelines, Gates will likely face between 57 and 71 months of prison time.
District Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not set a date for a sentencing hearing. A status conference for Gates’ case is set for May 14.
In an emailed statement, Manafort said he maintains his innocence, “notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today.”
“I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence,” Manafort said. “For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”
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A superseding indictment against Manafort was also filed in the case Friday. It includes many of the original charges against him and removes charges against Gates. It also does not include prior charges for failure to file reports of foreign and financial bank accounts. Similar charges, however, were filed against Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia Thursday.
As part of his plea agreement, Gates agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s office. Gates agreed to “participate in undercover activities” as directed by law enforcement agents or the special counsel’s office and not to reveal his cooperation or any information he gains from it with third parties.
He also agreed to testify as needed before grand juries, in trials and in other court proceedings as needed by Mueller’s office. The obligations continue after Gates is sentenced, according to the agreement.
In his plea, Gates admitted to engaging in various criminal schemes as part of his work for Manafort. Those include helping Manafort commit tax fraud and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act when he lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Additionally, Gates pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller’s investigators during a proffer session Feb. 1 about a meeting between Manafort, an unnamed lobbyist for a company and an unnamed member of Congress in 2013. Gates told investigators that there were no discussions of Ukraine at the meeting, though he was not at the meeting himself and had in fact helped Manafort prepare a report for Ukrainian leadership about the discussions.
The Feb. 1 proffer session occurred the same day Gates’ prior lawyers, Shanlon Wu of Wu, Grohovsky & Whipple; Walter Mack of Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack; and Annemarie McAvoy of McAvoy Consulting, filed a motion to withdraw from his case.
The information that was filed today is posted below:
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the day Gates’ previous lawyers filed a motion to withdraw. It was Feb. 1.