Rick Gates is expected to come to a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, two sources told the New York Times. Gates could enter a guilty plea as soon as Friday, the Times reported.
ABC News also reported Friday that Gates was poised to reach a deal with Mueller.
Gates, a former Trump campaign advisor, was hit with a second indictment from Mueller Thursday, after an initial round of charges were filed in October. He and his longtime business partner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, have been charged with an assortment of financial crimes, including bank fraud, as well as with failure to disclose foreign lobbying related to work they did for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Both men pleaded not guilty when the charges were brought in October.
For weeks it had been rumored that Gates was in plea negotiations with Mueller, particularly after CNN reported he had quietly hired a new attorney, Tom Green, to help hammer out the deal. However, Gates’ effort to formally switch up his legal team has dragged on for nearly a month, after a motion from his original team of lawyers to withdraw from representing him prompted a mysterious back-and-forth in sealed court filings and in private hearings. Only Thursday did a judge approve of the original attorneys’ move to withdraw, after Green formally entered the case on its public docket and filed for Gates a motion saying he did not oppose them withdrawing. Adding to the confusion was that the Daily Beast reported just before the filings that Gates had fired Green.
According to ABC News, Gates for weeks has been indecisive as to whether he was willing to plead guilty, and even this week it was not clear whether he would come to an agreement with Mueller.
The network obtained a letter Gates wrote to family and close friends explaining his decision, in which he said “despite my initial desire to vigorously defend myself, I have had a change of heart.”
“The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process,” Gates’ letter continued, according to ABC News. Gates is the father of young children.
“The consequence is the public humiliation, which at this moment seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise,” Gates’ letter said, according to ABC News.