Former U.S. attorney Andy McCarthy says the ‘slap on the wrist’ that Rick Gates received in exchange for his testimony in the fraud trial against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort makes it difficult for prosecutors to minimize his importance to their case.
Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years of probation, after pleading guilty as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Gates was also fined $20,000 and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service. He will be allowed to serve his jail time intermittently on a schedule he works out in the future.
The sentencing came after Gates gave a short statement accepting responsibility for his actions, in remarks before District Judge Amy Jackson in a Washington, D.C., courtroom.
Gates’ hearing had been postponed several times since 2018, with Mueller’s team citing Gates’ cooperation in “several ongoing investigations.” He was a former associate of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and had cooperated extensively in the case against his former partner.
The cooperation seemed to smooth the way for more lenient treatment. The Justice Department last week said it would not oppose his recent request for probation due to his assistance, and praised Gates for his cooperation in several cases on Tuesday, in advance of Jackson’s decision.
Gates, who worked closely with Manafort, pleaded guilty in February 2018 to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of making false statements to FBI agents. The counts related to his role concealing millions of dollars he made from lobbying work he and Manafort had done for Ukraine.
The plea deal was far narrower than what Gates originally faced — a host of conspiracy, false statement, fraud and other charges leveled against both him and Manafort. The special counsel’s eventual move to back off most of those charges for Gates signaled federal prosecutors were yielding good information from him as they pursued a bigger case against Manafort.
Gates had intimate knowledge of Manafort’s years of political consulting work in Ukraine, and testified in the latter’s trial.
Manafort was sentenced in March to a total of roughly seven years in prison, in connection with two cases. A federal jury in Virginia convicted him on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, while he pleaded guilty in a Washington court to charges related to foreign lobbying and witness tampering.