- Rick Gates, a former deputy manager of President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has fired his lawyer who was reportedly working to grant him a plea deal in the Russia investigation.
- It seems Gates is now no longer seeking a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Gates and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort were charged on Thursday with a superseding indictment that contained 35 charges related to tax fraud and bank fraud.
Political consultant Rick Gates, who served as a deputy to his longtime business partner Paul Manafort while Manafort was President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has fired his lawyer who was reportedly working to get him a plea deal in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Daily Beast reports.
Gates’s lawyer, Tom Green, was well-known for securing plea deals for his clients, and previous news reports had indicated Gates was in the process of striking a deal with Mueller to cooperate with him in the investigation. With Green’s termination, it seems that Gates is no longer seeking any such deal, and has replaced Green with attorney Barry Pollack.
Together with Manafort, Gates had been indicted on 12 charges related to money laundering, tax fraud, failure to register as foreign agents, and conspiracy against the United States. But on Thursday, Gates and Manafort were handed a superceding indictment that replaced the original 12 charges with a fresh set of 35 charges related to tax and bank fraud. Mueller’s indictment document alleges that Gates and Manafort set up offshore bank accounts that they then failed to disclose to the proper authorities, and laundered over $75 million through these accounts.
Had Gates followed through on a plea deal, he would have been the third person indicted in the investigation to flip to Mueller’s side. Two other Trump associates – former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn – pleaded guilty last year and are cooperating with the Mueller probe.
While Gates had apparently been flirting with a plea deal, Manafort sued Mueller, the Justice Department and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in January. He based his lawsuit on the argument that the Russia investigation had charged him and Gates with crimes unrelated to the original intent of the investigation, but instead had pursued “any matters that arose or may arise directly from” it.
Gates and Manafort had consulted for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian party prior to the country’s 2014 revolution. The pair did lobbying work on behalf of these entities in the US, and were later charged by Mueller for failing to disclose the nature of their foreign sponsors to federal authorities.