Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation became very real the moment when ex-Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort was indicted on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the U.S. Things seemed even more dire for Manafort when former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appeared to nab a sweetheart deal while only pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. And now, the hammer may soon fully come down on Manafort because the speculated Rick Gates plea deal is expected to happen.
The LA Times reports that Gates — Manafort’s associate who was indicted alongside him — will indeed swap his plea for a “guilty” one, and the revision will occur within days after Gates’ lawyer, Thomas Green, has held weeks of negotiations with Mueller’s team. Naturally, Gates appears to be cutting a good deal for himself:
According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence” if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.
The delicate terms reached by the opposing lawyers, he said, will not be specified in writing: Gates “understands that the government may move to reduce his sentence if he substantially cooperates — but it won’t be spelled out.”
Both Manafort and Gates are on the hook an extensive array of charges, mostly financial crimes but also involving lobbying for foreign governments. In addition to conspiracy against the U.S., Gates is on the hook for money laundering and all sorts of other offenses that, without a plea deal, could put him behind bars for decades.
In addition, it’s worth nothing that Manafort is currently suing the Justice Department to fight his indictment, but the LA TImes points out that Gates is financially indisposed when it comes to funding a full-on defense (around an estimated $1.5 million in this case) against the Justice Department. Mueller is undoubtedly aware of this fact, but more importantly, he wants to tighten up his case against Manafort. And the best person to help Mueller do that, of course, would be Gates.
(Via LA Times)