Feds Seek Light Sentence for Mueller Witness Rick Gates

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Justice Department is asking for a lenient sentence for Rick Gates, ahead of the star witness from the Mueller investigation appearing in federal court next week to find out how his guilty plea and testimony in three criminal trials will impact his punishment.

Rick Gates arrives at federal court in Washington on Feb. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Gates is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge in Washington on Dec. 17. He pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI and conspiracy to defraud the United States in charges brought by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Gates then took the witness stand to testify against his former boss and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Roger Stone and Greg Craig.

The government recommended in a memo filed Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson weigh Gates’ lengthy cooperation and reduce his sentence.

The Justice Department also did not oppose a request filed Monday by Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, for a sentence of probation with minimum supervision and community service.

Green said Gates “fulfilled every obligation he agreed to (and then some)” under his plea agreement. The Justice Department agreed, telling the judge Gates met his obligations and “worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him.”

Tuesday’s memo repeatedly states that Gates did so under exceedingly difficult circumstances and intense public scrutiny. Without naming involved parties, the memo also states that Gates was offered money in exchange for not cooperating with the government.

“Gates’ cooperation has been steadfast despite the fact that the government has asked for his assistance in high profile matters, against powerful individuals, in the midst of a particularly turbulent environment,” the sentencing memo states.

Gates tied President Donald Trump to Stone in the former campaign adviser’s criminal trial on charges he lied to Congress about communicating with WikiLeaks on the release of Russian-hacked documents. Those charges, like the ones against Gates, were part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Stone had testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he never provided information about WikiLeaks to anyone in the Trump campaign in 2016. But testimony from Gates unraveled the claim with an account of a phone call between Trump and Stone.

Seconds after the call, Trump told Gates that more information from WikiLeaks would be coming.

The sentencing memo offers a clear reminder of the outcome of the trial following Gates’ testimony: “As the Court is aware, Stone was found guilty of all of the charges against him on November 15, 2019.”

Judge Jackson, set to sentence Gates next week, also presided over the Stone trial last month.

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