Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into Russia interfering with the 2016 presidential election has yielded yet another guilty plea. Former President Trump aide Rick Gates has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to the FBI while offering his assistance and testimony into Mueller’s probe.
Gates pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making a false statement. Both counts were issued in a new superseding information on Friday.
According to the new information, Gates knowingly lied when he told the special counsel that Manafort, after a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and a member of Congress, had said that Ukraine had not been mentioned in the meeting. Not only was that statement never made, the information says, but Gates himself helped prepare a report describing the discussions on Ukraine that had taken place at that meeting.
That false statement was made on Feb. 1 — the same day Gates’ legal counsel filed a motion to withdraw as his defense.
Gates also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. by making false statements regarding his status as a foreign agent, a charge initially proffered in the first indictment from Oct. 27, 2017.
Mueller’s probe has gained steam after handing out 19 indictments, five guilty pleas, and Gates being the third Trump-connected official willing to testify in the matter. Gates originally pleaded not guilty to a number of previous charges but on Thursday, Mueller brought nearly three dozen new charges against him.
Gates could serve up to six years in prison, although depending on what he gives prosecutors, his time might be reduced significaly. A date for a trial hasn’t been set just yet.
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