Rick Gates, the deputy of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, will plead guilty to “fraud-related charges,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The Times cited interviews with unnamed people familiar with the case. One person with “direct knowledge of the new developments” said Gates’ revised plea would be presented in court “within the next few days”: “Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” the source said.
CBS News later reported later Sunday that, according to unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations, Gates was expected to plead guilty.
The network added, referring to Gates’ attorneys’ move to withdraw from the case: “The fact that three experienced trial attorneys wanted off the case suggested at the time that Gates may be pursuing a plea deal. The attorneys remain under a gag order by the court.”
CNN reported Thursday that Gates was nearing a plea deal with Mueller. Gates and Manafort both pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in October including conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and failing to file reports on foreign bank and financial accounts.
CNN reported last week that Mueller’s team was preparing new, tax-related charges against Gates, perhaps to increase the pressure on him to cooperate.
An unnamed person familiar with the talks between Mueller’s team and Tom Green, a defense attorney new to Gates’ team, told the Times that Gates could expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” for cooperating fully with the investigation, adding that Gates “understands that the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates – but it won’t be spelled out.”
Gates’ cooperation would aide Mueller’s team’s case against Manafort. One unnamed person familiar with the “pending guilty plea,” in the Times’ words, told the paper that Gates’ cooperation would be the “cherry on top” of the case against Manafort, should Manafort decide to pursue his not-guilty plea at trial.
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