Rick Gates, Key Witness In Mueller Investigation, Sentenced To 45 Days In Jail

Rick Gates, a former top Trump campaign official who pleaded guilty to a range of crimes before becoming a key witness in the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 45 days in jail on Tuesday.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson also sentenced Gates to three years of probation and ordered him to pay a $20,000 fine.

Gates and his ex-business partner, onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, were among the first individuals charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The men were indicted in Washington in October 2017 for conspiracy, money laundering and other alleged crimes. Prosecutors brought more charges against them four months later in a separate but related case in Virginia.

The day after the second slate of charges was unsealed, Gates, who had served as the Trump campaign’s deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements and agreed to cooperate with the government.

Prosecutors say that since signing his plea deal, Gates has provided “extraordinary assistance” to the government. He met with investigators more than 50 times, giving Mueller’s office and other prosecutors “truthful information,” the government said in its sentencing memo.

The sentence

Jackson said she recognized the contributions Gates had made to prosecutors’ work but couldn’t overlook his admissions of wrongdoing in connection with the other charges he’d faced.

The judge said Gates’ jail time could be served on weekends or on a schedule he arranged with his probation officer.

Jackson said she was satisfied Gates has “in very real ways accepted responsibility for his actions” and that he would no longer violate the law.

“I’m 100% certain the criminal justice system is not going to see you again,” she said.

Gates spoke briefly before the judge announced the sentence to acknowledge his lawbreaking and repeat his request that he receive probation only.

“I accept complete responsibility for my actions. … I greatly regret the mistakes I made,” Gates said. He asked for leniency and told the judge: “I hope and pray you’ll grant that to me.”

The protege

Gates’ most prominent turn as government witness came in Manafort’s bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia, where Gates testified that he committed crimes at Manafort’s direction.

Manafort, the longtime political operator who served as Trump’s campaign chairman, had been a mentor to Gates.

Manafort was found guilty on eight of the 18 charges in that case. He later pleaded guilty in the separate case in Washington. Manafort was ultimately sentenced to nearly 7 1/2 years in prison.

Other matters

Gates’ cooperation extended far beyond the Manafort case.

He also provided testimony in two other trials that were born out of the Mueller probe — one against the former business partner of President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn; the other against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig.

“In short, under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” the government said in its sentencing memo.

The government said the guideline for Gates is four to five years of prison. Prosecutors asked for a more lenient sentence “based on his substantial assistance,” and it did not oppose Gates’ request for probation.

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