Another former member of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign reportedly will plead guilty to charges resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
Rick Gates, who served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager, is expected to plead guilty in coming days to fraud–related charges, and then testify against his former business associate, Paul Manafort, who served as the president’s campaign manager.
Manafort and Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 27, 2017, on 12 felony counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal. The indictment accuses the two former Trump campaign officials of acting as agents of the Ukraine government and laundering “tens of millions of dollars in income” through U.S. and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts from at least 2006–2016.
Both men initially pleaded not guilty, but now Gates appears ready to flip. According to an anonymous source familiar with the investigation and cited by the Times, Gates could expect to serve about 18 months in prison in exchange for his cooperation.
Multiple reports said Gates, 45, who has four children, has faced financial pressures resulting from the indictment and likely cannot afford a lengthy trial. Republican donors have been hesitant to aid in defense funds for both Gates and Manafort, CNN said. Gates could not demonstrate to the court that he had $5 million in assets in order to make bail.
Earlier this month, three of Gates’ lawyers asked the court to allow them to stop representing their client, leading to a flurry of sealed hearings. A fourth lawyer, Thomas Green, helped Gates negotiate a plea deal.
An unnamed White House official previously told CNN that Gates’ cooperation in the Mueller probe would cause the Trump administration “no anxiety.” The source named in the Times report seems to agree with that assessment, saying Gates’ testimony likely would not “turn the screws on Trump.”
Gates’ role in the Trump campaign was reduced after Manafort was fired in August 2016, although he did work for Trump’s inaugural committee.