Manafort: Gates’ Guilty Plea Doesn’t ‘Alter My Commitment To Defend Myself’

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his wife Kathleen arrive at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty last year to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday insisted that he is innocent after his business associate Rick Gates pled guilty to two charges and took a plea deal in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence,” Manafort said in a statement via his spokesman, Jason Maloni.

Manafort said he “hoped and expected” that Gates “would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence.”

“For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise,” Manafort said. “This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

Gates on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the special counsel and one count of conspiracy against the United States, and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a plea deal.

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