WASHINGTON — Rick Gates, President Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years of probation for financial crimes and lying to investigators.
Gates was former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s “right-hand man” during the campaign, according to charging papers, and the two were charged together with a litany of crimes related to concealing their work for Ukrainian officials. But Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to two counts brought by then–special counsel Robert Mueller’s office — conspiracy against the United States for concealing their Ukraine work and profits from it, as well as lying to Mueller’s office.
Gates will also have to pay a $20,000 fine as part of his sentence.
Since pleading guilty, Gates had cooperated extensively with Mueller’s office, including testifying against Manafort in his trial. Prosecutors had pushed for a light sentence to reflect Gates’s assistance, while Manafort was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison in March.
Manafort was recently hospitalized for a “cardiac event,” ABC News reported, though he is in “stable” condition and “could be released soon,” sources told the outlet.
Gates worked under Manafort for the Trump campaign beginning in June 2016 and later went to work for Trump’s inauguration committee. During Manafort’s trial, Gates admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former friend; he also said it was “possible” that he stole from the inauguration committee as well.
Though Gates and Manafort were charged for concealing their work with Ukraine — including hiding money from the US government in foreign bank accounts, failing to pay taxes on it, and not reporting lobbying efforts in the US — it has not been connected to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment investigation against the president.
Gates also testified against longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who was found guilty last month of lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as well as obstruction and witness tampering. Stone is set to be sentenced in February.
According to secret memos from Mueller’s investigation unveiled by BuzzFeed News earlier this month, obtained via a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, Gates told the FBI in April 2018 that Manafort had repeatedly pressed him not to take a plea deal in the case. Manafort told Gates that he had spoken to Trump’s legal adviser John Dowd and assured Gates that the two of them had the White House’s support.
"Manafort said something like, 'I talked to Dowd. I've covered you at the White House' and added that a legal defense fund was coming and they were going to 'take care of us,’” Gates told investigators.
But when he pressed Manafort on whether anyone at the White House had explicitly mentioned pardoning them, Manafort told him that no one had used that word.
“Gates had no basis to trust Manafort and thought the conversation was designed to convince Gates not to plead guilty. By then, Gates had already made his decision,” prosecutors wrote in the memo. “Gates added that Manafort talked a big game, but Gates had no confidence what he said was true."