A new lawyer has joined the legal team of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who is facing criminal charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, CNN reported Tuesday.
The lawyer, Tom Green, is not listed on the case’s court record yet and has not appeared on any filings. CNN’s report is based on an unnamed source familiar with the matter.
The CNN report goes on to note what it suggests could be signs of negotations between Gates and Mueller.
One of those is that Green was spotted at Mueller’s office twice last week, according the report.
Another, it suggests, is the delay in filing a superseding indictment— a new indictment against an existing defendant, usually with additional counts or parties or both, that replaces the original indictment — in the case.
There’s long been the expectation that a superseding indictment may be filed against Gates, or against his longtime business partner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is joining Gates in the charges. And CNN reports that, according to a source close to the investigation, superseding indictments against both men have been prepared. But no additional charges have yet been filed.
“When there is a delay in filing charges after they’ve been prepared, it can indicate that negotiations of some nature are ongoing,” CNN notes.
The report also notes that Green has experience cutting plea deals — citing specifically a plea deal he cut for Dennis Hastert — though, according to CNN, Green is also known to take cases to trial.
Gates and Manafort have been charged with tax evasion, money laundering and failure for disclose foreign lobbying. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
They are being represented by separate legal teams in the case. Their lawyers have also been constrained by a gag order, which prohibits them from talking to the media.
Gates’ attorneys, the Washington-based Shanlon Wu and New York-based Walter Mack, both cited the gag order in declining to comment to CNN. Green also declined to comment in the CNN report.
Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman for a few months in the summer of 2016, before scrutiny of pro-Russia lobbying work he did in Ukraine a few years back led to his ouster. (The Ukraine work is at the heart of many of the charges Manafort and Gates are facing).
Gates however stayed on the campaign as an aide, and after the election worked for President Trump’s inaugural committee, which collected $107 million. He then did a stint at America First Policies, a political group ostensibly devoted to pushing the Trump policy agenda. After he left America First, he was seen at the White House on repeated occasions with Tom Barrack, a Trump friend and the inaugural committee chair, the Daily Beast reported in June.
Gates was released on bail last week, having been under house arrest since Mueller’s indictment dropped in October.