By Marie DeFreitas
President Trump’s former campaign official, Richard Gates, was sentenced to 45 days in prison and a three year probation on Tuesday after pleading guilty to several crimes.
Gates served as deputy chairman under Paul Manafort during President Trump’s 2016 election campaign. He admitted to conspiracy against the United States, lying to investigators, and money laundering, much of this under the command of Manafort. Gates was fined $20,000 and is to fulfill 300 hours of community service. His prison sentence will be allowed to be served on the weekends and intermittently during his three year probation period.
In a brief statement on Tuesday, Gates said he “accepts complete responsibility for my actions.” He spoke very briefly to the judge, asking for leniency before receiving his sentence.
Gates, 47, agreed to cooperate with the government and is now a key figure in the Russia investigation. His cooperation was seen as “extraordinarily” helpful by prosecutors after he signed his plea deal. Gates provided substantial information not only to the Mueller investigation, but also to two other trials that were born of it. One of these was against Obama’s White House counsel Greg Craig, and the other, an ex-business partner of President Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn.
The sentence was more than expected and Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a federal judge in Virginia, said she struggled with how to go forth with Gates’ sentence, given how helpful and sincere he proved to be during his hearing. Jackson did express that she was satisfied that Gates had “in very real ways accepted responsibility for his actions” and that he would no longer breach the law. However, Gates’ wrongdoings could not be overlooked and were far too serious for Judge Jackson to grant his request for solely probation.
In a sentencing memo the government said: “In short, under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement.”
Gates had also been involved in a trial prior to this in Virginia that revolved around Manafort’s bank and tax fraud. Gates testified that he had committed crimes under Manafort’s direction. Judge Jackson said “He eventually joined Manafort in living as if the rules did not apply to him.” The two laundered about $3 million through overseas bank accounts to avoid taxes. Manafort, a longtime political consultant who served as Trump’s campaign chairman, was found guilty on several charges. He later pleaded guilty in the case in Washington and was sentenced to nearly 7 ½ years in prison. Manafort, who is imprisoned in Pennsylvania, had been a mentor to Gates and later pressured him not to cooperate with prosecutors during the investigation. Gates now brings the number of President Trump’s former campaign officials who have broken the law to eight.