Former Trump Adviser Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Making False Statements

Former Trump Adviser Gates Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Making False Statements
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AFP 2018/ Brendan SmialowskiUS22:18 23.02.2018(updated 23:02 23.02.2018) Get short URL
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Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign manager to US President Donald Trump, has pleaded guilty to conspiring against the United States and making false statements to the FBI. The charges against him, of which there are over 30, relate to his work as a lobbyist in Ukraine from 2004 to 2010.

The court documents claim that Gates admitted to filing false paperwork with the Department of Justice (DOJ) between November 2016 and February 2017.

No sentencing date has been issued yet. Sentencing guidelines for the charges that Gates pled guilty to advise prison time between 57 and 71 months. If Gates cooperates with the special counsel investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, his sentence may be reduced.

Gates was accused of defrauding the US of money that he and his business partner, Trump’s short-lived campaign manager Paul Manafort, earned from their lobbying work. They were accused of lying on their income-tax returns, laundering money, and committing bank fraud to support lavish lifestyles in the US.

Manafort issued a statement after the indictment where he claimed he would maintain his not-guilty plea. “I continue to maintain my innocence,” Manafort said. “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.”

The guilty plea comes as no surprise, as a letter penned by Gates was received by ABC News where he told his family he would plead guilty to some charges for their sake.”The consequence is the public humiliation, which at this moment seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise,” Gates allegedly wrote.

“The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process.”

Gates and Manafort were both indicted in October 2017. Gates pleaded not guilty to the initial charges of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to file financial reports, not registering as a foreign agent, and making false statements.

On Thursday, he was charged with falsifying tax returns, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and more charges of failing to file financial reports. All told, he is accused of laundering over $75 million.

The allegations were made by DOJ  special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed in April to investigate allegations of collusion. In the ten months hence, Mueller has indicted four Trump campaign lieutenants, two other Americans, 13 Russian nationals, and three Russian LLCs — but none of the charges filed directly pertain to collusion. Moscow and the Trump campaign have both consistently denied any and all charges of collusion.

More details to follow

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