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- A former top Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, agreed to plead guilty to fraud-related charges in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
- Gates agreed to testify against the former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
- Both were indicted on fraud-related charges in October.
A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has agreed to plead guilty to fraud-related charges and will testify against the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
Rick Gates’ decision to plead guilty is a reversal for the former Trump deputy campaign manager, who initially pleaded not guilty in October after being indicted on charges similar to the ones Manafort is facing. The pair were charged with 12 counts related to money laundering, tax fraud, conspiracy against the US, and failure to register as foreign agents.
CNN reported last week that Gates was negotiating a plea deal with Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is heading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. By cooperating with Mueller, Gates can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence,” the Times reported, adding that a prison of term of 18 months is likely.
The revised plea deal will be presented in federal court “within the next few days,” according to the Times.
By pleading guilty, Gates joins two other Trump associates – the former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the former campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos – in cooperating with Mueller. Both Flynn and Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI.
Sunday’s report could put pressure on Manafort to reverse his not-guilty plea, as Gates’ testimony could bolster the government’s case against Manafort.