Ex-Trump Campaign Aide Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Lying

Russian interference in US polls Former Trump aide pleads guilty to conspiracy lying
Rick Gates former campaign aide to US President Donald Trump | Joshua Roberts Reuters
Author

24 February, 2018

The pair were accused of laundering 30 million USA dollars, failing to pay taxes for almost 10 years and using their real estate to fraudulently secure millions of dollars in loans, according to a 32-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Virginia on Thursday.

The additional charges involve much of the same conduct Manafort and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, were charged with past year in an indictment in Washington.

They were among the first to be charged as part of Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation to influence the 2016 election. The indictment itself does not mention anything related to any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, which is what Mueller was appointed to investigate.

He pleaded guilty today in a Washington, D.C. courtroom (Feb. 23) to charges of conspiring against the United Sates and lying to investigators.

Now, Gates and Manafort joined the Trump campaign in the late spring of 2016.

Manafort will remain under house arrest during the investigation of the case regarding the interference of Russian Federation in the US presidential election. Both Gates and Manafort were around for the heart of the campaign, the summer of 2016.

The new charges stem from work Manafort and Gates performed for Ukraine, specifically for Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political parties affiliated with him.

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Gates and Manafort were charged in October with money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying work with the US government. When the income "dwindled" after Manafort's client fled Ukraine for Russian Federation, he lied - with Gates' help - about their companies' worth to obtain millions of dollars in mortgages and didn't pay taxes on their newfound riches, prosecutors allege.

If convicted of the bank fraud charges, Manafort and Gates would have to forfeit any property obtained from the loans. It's not clear what else he can provide prosecutors, but Gates continued to serve as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign after Manafort stepped down in August 2016, helped organize Trump's inauguration, and had access to the White House as an outside adviser in the early weeks of the administration.

"For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise".

Gates's plea is expected to come with an agreement to cooperate with Mueller's investigation, but what form that takes is unclear.

Gates and Manafort were originally charged with 12 counts each in October which was increased by Mr Mueller on Thursday by another 32 charges for the pair. Gates' plea will make it five different people to have pleaded guilty to charges brought by Mueller.

LUCAS: There has been a lot of noise around Gates and his legal team, and he's been in a dispute with his lawyers who petitioned to leave the case.


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