- Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates said in a letter to his family that he will plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, ABC News reported on Friday.
- In the letter, Gates said he wanted to avoid “the circus-like atmosphere” of a trial and significant financial costs associated with his legal defence.
- The move is a sign that Gates is cooperating with Mueller’s team.
Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign adviser, is expected to plead guilty on Friday in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, according to a letter obtained by ABC News.
In the letter, Gates, who pleaded not guilty to charges announced last October, told his family that had “a change of heart” and that he ultimately settled on the “gut-wrenching decision” to plead guilty for the sake of his loved ones.
“The consequence is the public humiliation, which at this moment seems like a small price to pay for what our children would have to endure otherwise,” Gates said. “The reality of how long this legal process will likely take, the cost, and the circus-like atmosphere of an anticipated trial are too much. I will better serve my family moving forward by exiting this process.”
The mounting legal defence costs associated with the case were also reportedly a significant factor in Gates’ guilty plea. ABC News said Gates had been wrangling over what to do and only finalised his deal with Mueller a few days ago.
Gates’ decision comes just a day after Mueller leveled 32 new charges against Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a superseding indictment, accusing them of financial crimes related to tax and bank fraud.
Manafort and Gates were indicted last year on 12 counts related to money laundering, conspiracy against the US, and failure to register as foreign agents.
The charges against Gates and Manafort stem from their financial dealings and their work as political consultants for Ukraine’s pro-Russia Party of Regions and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Gates’ expected guilty plea would make him the fourth person known to be cooperating with Mueller, in addition to early campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, and California businessman Richard Pinedo.
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