Politics

Mueller witness Rick Gates seeks to avoid prison

Gates has cooperated with prosecutors

(CNN) - President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign chairman and top witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe Rick Gates has asked for a sentence of just probation after extensive cooperation with prosecutors following a guilty plea to two federal crimes.

The court filing highlights just how significant Gates had been in the Mueller investigation and to prosecutors as they went after other targets, including a former White House counsel, Roger Stone and Gates' former boss, Paul Manafort. Some details about what Gates spoke to prosecutors about are still under seal.

His attorney notes in a filing Monday night that prosecutors will attest to the court how helpful he's been and will ask for a reduced sentence for his admissions of guilt. He pleaded guilty to two charges -- conspiracy and lying to the FBI -- in February 2018. Since then, he's testified against his former associates at three criminal trials.

"We believe that the parties are in agreement that Mr. Gates has fulfilled every obligation he agreed to (and then some) and that he has devoted enormous energy and commitment to this task while telling the truth and maintaining his composure," his attorney wrote Monday.

"There is no perfect way to convey to the Court how far Richard Gates has traveled on the proverbial road to redemption," the attorney also wrote, before quoting from a letter written by Charlie Black -- a former business partner of Manafort and Stone -- on Gates' behalf that recent "suffering has restored his character and restored his high ethical standards."

The filing notes Gates sat for more than 500 hours of interviews with state and federal prosecutors, and even spoke with congressional staff.

Gates' attorney outlines just how difficult his cooperation with Mueller's team had been. He hasn't been employed since he was charged with dozens of crimes in October 2017 alongside Manafort, and has been seeing a psychologist for more than a year.

During Manafort's trial, Gates had admitted on the witness stand to a host of transgressions, from embezzling from his boss' company to having an extra-marital affair.

His defense attorney notes he has held his family together and volunteered with the Red Cross and youth soccer teams.

He is scheduled for sentencing on December 17.


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