Feb 23, 2018, 2:58 PM ET

Former Trump aide Rick Gates pleads guilty to 2 counts in Russia investigation

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Richard Gates, Donald Trump’s one-time campaign aide, pleaded guilty Friday to two felony counts: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal authorities.

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Gates is the latest person in the Trump campaign's orbit to face charges in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential contest. He is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson noted during Gates’ plea hearing.

Inside a federal courtroom in Washington on Friday, Gates admitted to helping former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort steer tens of millions of dollars overseas and then hide it from U.S. tax authorities.

PHOTO: Rick Gates arrives at federal court in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018.Susan Walsh/AP
Rick Gates arrives at federal court in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018.

“Mr. Manafort did not pay taxes on that income,” and Gates “was aware it’s illegal to hide income from the IRS,” prosecutor Greg Andres said, noting that Gates helped prepare Manafort’s tax forms. Gates also helped hide Manafort’s foreign bank accounts, he conceded in court.

Another prosecutor also told the judge that Gates and Manafort failed to register as a foreign agent, as required by U.S. law, even though he was lobbying behalf of the government in Ukraine.

At one point, Berman Jackson asked Gates how he pleads to the charges against him, and he said, “Guilty, your honor.”

Highlighting the weight of the decision he was making before he pleaded guilty, Gates noted to the judge, “I am 45 years old, your honor.”

PHOTO: Rick Gates arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018. Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/REX/Shu
Rick Gates arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018.

The conspiracy, prosecutors say, spans from 2006 to 2017 and involved more than $75 million that flowed through offshore accounts.

Prosecutors say Gates also lied to the special counsel’s office on Feb. 1 when he said that Manafort denied to him that Ukraine was discussed at a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and member of Congress.

According to the charging document, Manafort never denied that to Gates and he helped Manafort prepare a report referencing Ukraine after the meeting.

While U.S. law indicates Gates could face up to 10 years in prison for the charges he pleaded guilty to on Friday, Berman Jackson said U.S. sentencing guidelines recommend he face no more than about six years in prison, and as little as four years and three months behind bars.

Nevertheless, Mueller’s team agreed to allow Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, to argue for an even lesser sentence given his pending cooperation.

Green indicated he plans to argue that Gates’ conduct was not as egregious as Manafort’s.

It’s “disproportionate conduct,” Green said.

As part of this plea deal, Gates is giving up his rights under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act — as the special counsel’s office might seek certain information or documents from him.

Manafort said Gates' plea does not affect his own stance.

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise," Manafort said in a statement. "This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

News - Former Trump aide Rick Gates pleads guilty to 2 counts in Russia investigation

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  • Redrockdoc

    How about the millions Crooked Hillary stole !! How about the millions she got from the Russians in that uranium deal ? How about the millions she received from foreign countries, funneled down from Canada. for political favors while she was sec of state ???? She should be in jail right now !!

  • adamrussell

    Gates plead guilty to collusion with Yanukovych and Russia.
    He took their million$, laundered it, and gave it to EU politicians who used it to lobby congress for Russian/Ukraine interests. How much of that money got into (gop) congressional pockets?

  • Pat Baxter

    All this going on under Trump's nose? Trump unaware?

  • ruelph

    Again, Trump has been president for over one year, yet, at Trump’s CPAC speech, people there were yelling lock her up, really, they are still back in 2016, and the year is 2018. Another example of not dealing with reality, Hillary and some of her associates have been interviewed by the FBI and not one of them has been charged with lying to the FBI. One year into Trump’s presidency, several of Trump’s associates have been convicted of lying to the FBI. And because Trump is such a pathological liar, his lawyer(s) doesn’t want him to be interviewed by the special counsel. Talking about keeping your head in the sand.

  • adamrussell

    Ok so the indictment against Gates says they took $millions from Russia and gave it to EU politicians, who then lobbied congress. He admits this. Did they merely talk to their buds in congress or pay bribes? This could be a bigger can of worms if the gop took any of that money.

  • Jen Bordon

    Mueller has Manifort cold. There's no where to run from his money laundering and bank fraud.
    Orange Fat Boy is next.

  • adamrussell

    Lets go over what the Gates conviction means.
    Gates just plead guilty to laundering Russian money to bribe EU officials to illegally lobby congress for Russian-Ukraine interests. This is literally Russian collusion. It may not be collusion to influence the election *yet*, but it IS collusion to influence congress.

    And then after they colluded with Russia to influence congress, they went to work for Trump, and Russia just happened to come along with and help Trump win the election.

  • Lee Thompson

    wow . . . this site looks like a 'comment board' war zone . . .

  • Lee Thompson

    One thing that blows my mind is that a charge like "Conspiracy Against the United States" doesn't seem to sink in with Trump supporters . . . I think that's a serious, traitorous sounding charge. Am I wrong?

  • tatertaut

    One has a lot more room when the trolls are blocked or collapsed. I love that feature at this site.

  • molimelight

    The level of criminal activity in the indictments of Gates and Manafort is breathtaking. I used to supervise felons who robbed people at gunpoint. They were pikers compared to these two. Put Manafort away for extended sentences. A pardon won't work because almost all of these charges qualify for state prosecution. And once he is pardoned he can't plead the fifth. Hey you orange haired baboon, Mr. Mueller is coming for you next!

  • Abuck 60

    "Donald, there's some guy out front name Paul Manafort. Wants a job."
    "Does he have any experience?"
    "You bet. Money laundering, wire fraud, tax evasion, bank fraud, knows everybody in Russia."
    "Make him my campaign manager. In fact, ask him if I can adopt him."

  • Life's a River

    Another one bites the dust!! Pretty soon, there will be enough of trump's former staffers to fill an entire wing of a federal penitentiary. I just hope they will be reunited with their former boss in the slammer.

  • Lee Thompson

    "Jaws" theme playing, and Trump is scared to death of sharks . . . apropos, don't you think?

  • Candlerdt

    When his money dried up, Manafort needed something new to sell. This isn't rocket science.

  • Abuck 60

    Remember those two American spies we had in Russia that were arrested by Putin right after trump won the nomination and started to get security briefings.....we will find out that trump sold them out to the commies....just wait and see.