Special counsel Robert Mueller may be about to get a guilty plea through another former Trump staffer. The individual in question: Rick Gates.
According to a report through the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Gates, Paul Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, will plead guilty to fraud-related charges from the coming days. He has also made clear to prosecutors in which he can be willing to testify against Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign. In October, Mueller indicted Gates along with Manafort on a combined 12 counts in which mostly focused on alleged money laundering, failure to disclose financial assets, along with false statements regarding their work for the government of Ukraine along which has a Russia-affiliated Ukrainian political party. At the time both pleaded not guilty. CNN reported earlier This specific week in which Gates was “finalizing” a revised plea deal in which he could cooperate with the Mueller investigation — according to the LA Times, the item’s required to land in a federal court in Washington “within the next few days.”
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The implications of what a guilty plea through Gates might mean are unclear. As Vox’s Andrew Prokop recently pointed out, the item could just be bad for Manafort on the lobbying along with money laundering charges levied against him — or the item could have bigger implications for the investigation into Russian interference from the 2016 election along with the potential collusion between Russia along with the Trump campaign.
In January, Gates signed a fresh lawyer who reportedly had been working on cutting him a plea deal, along with according to the LA Times, they’ve been hard at work on negotiations. Per Sunday’s report, Gates can expect a “substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation, along with the exact terms of the deal won’t be specified in writing. Gates “understands in which the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates — nevertheless the item won’t be spelled out.”
If Gates does indeed enter a guilty plea, he won’t be the first former Trump staffer to do so. The same day Mueller announced charges against Manafort along with Gates in October, he also unsealed a weeks-old document revealing in which George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, had pleaded guilty to producing false statements to the FBI about his Russia contacts after being arrested in July. (Papadopoulos’ drunken bragging about having dirt on Hillary Clinton to an Australian diplomat can be what kicked off the FBI’s Russia probe from the first place.) In addition, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn agreed to a deal with Mueller in December — pleading guilty to 1 count of lying to the FBI.
Sunday’s report in which Gates can be about to enter a guilty plea comes days after Mueller handed down indictments of 13 Russian individuals along with 3 Russian companies, accusing them of conspiring to interfere with “US political along with electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”