WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former Trump campaign official Rick Gates to 45 days in jail despite what she said was “extraordinary" cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe and other Justice Department investigations.
The jail sentence, which she said was needed to reflect the seriousness of his crimes, is to be served intermittently during three years of probation that the judge also imposed.
Prosecutors didn't seek prison time for Gates, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to charges relating to lucrative political consulting work he did in Ukraine. They cited Gates' cooperation, which included testifying in three trials, more than 50 meetings with the government, and a commitment to continue sharing information even after his sentence.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson commended Gates for his cooperation, describing it as an “important public service" that went to the heart of the central question that Mueller and his team sought to answer — whether President Donald Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.
Gates, for instance, provided key details about the Trump campaign's eagerness to exploit the release by WikiLeaks of Democratic emails that U.S. officials have said were hacked by Russia. He also described the sharing of confidential polling data by Paul Manafort, his onetime mentor and the chairman of the Trump campaign, with a business associate the U.S. says has ties to Russian intelligence.
“Gates' information alone warranted — indeed, demanded — further investigation from the standpoint of our national security, the integrity of our elections and the enforcement of our criminal laws," Jackson said.
But she also scolded him for years of financial crimes and deception that continued even after he had agreed to plead guilty and cooperate. She said it was “hard to overstate the number of lies" and the amount of fraud involved in the case.
“All of it," the judge said, “has to factor into the sentence."
Gates sought leniency from the judge, saying in a brief statement Tuesday that he accepted responsibility for his crimes.
“I greatly regret the mistakes that I have made and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends," Gates said.
Gates is one of a half-dozen Trump associates charged in Mueller's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. All six have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty in a jury trial.
The three who had already been sentenced before Tuesday — Manafort, Michael Cohen and George Papadopoulos — have all received prison time. Two others, former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump confidant Roger Stone, are awaiting sentencing.
Gates was among the first defendants charged in Mueller's investigation, though the crimes actually had nothing to do with the campaign.
An indictment accused him and Manafort of failing to disclose the work they did for then-Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and of hiding in foreign bank accounts millions of dollars in proceeds that they used to fund lavish lifestyles and pay for personal expenses.
Gates pleaded guilty to charges of false statements and conspiracy against the United States, and he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, including by testifying against Manafort, who is now serving more than seven years in prison.
Gates also admitted lying to prosecutors even after he had agreed to start cooperating, though Jackson praised him for recovering from that mistake and accepting responsibility through testimony that she said was truthful and unembellished.
“He didn't sit down one day and say what he thought the prosecutor wanted to hear and say, 'OK, that's that. Now I'm ready for probation.'"
Prosecutors did not oppose Gates' request for probation. Before the hearing, Gates shared a friendly handshake at the defense table with Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor for Mueller who investigated him and Manafort.
“The government would point out that it is difficult to imagine the turbulent and public atmosphere in which Mr. Gates had to make the decision to plead guilty," prosecutor Molly Gaston told the judge.
She added: “Mr. Gates stands out as someone who in the midst of such an environment decided to do the right thing."
Gates is the latest to be sentenced in the Mueller probe, an investigation spanning back to 2017. Here's a look at everyone charged in connection with the case.
Roger Stone has become the latest associated of President Donald Trump to be charged and found guilty of crimes related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Here's a look at everyone charged so far in connection with Mueller's work.
Former Trump attorney
Charges: Tax evasion, bank fraud, campaign finance violations; lying to Congress
Result: Pleaded guilty Aug. 21 and to separate charges Nov. 29. Sentenced to 3 years in prison on Dec. 12.
Former Trump campaign chair
Charges: 18 tax and bank fraud charges
Result: Convicted Aug. 21 on 8 charges; plea deal on other charges withdrawn Nov. 26
Former Trump campaign aide
Charges: Lying to FBI
Results: Pleaded guilty Oct. 5, 2017; sentenced to 14 days in prison
Former national security adviser
Charges: Lying to FBI
Result: Pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017
Former Trump campaign aide
Charges: Conspiracy against the U.S., lying to FBI and special counsel’s office
Result: Pleaded guilty Feb. 23, 2018. Sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation Dec. 17, 2019.
Alex van der Zwann
Charges: Lying to FBI
Result: Pleaded guilty Feb. 20; sentenced to 30 days in prison
Charges: Identity fraud
Result: Pleaded guilty Feb. 12; sentenced to six months in prison
Associate of Paul Manafort
Charges: Obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice
12 intelligence agents for Russia’s GRU
Charges: Conspiracy to commit computer crimes, identity theft, money laundering
13 Russians and three affiliated companies
Charges: Conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to commit wire/ bank fraud, identity theft
W. Samuel Patten
Lobbyist. Charged by another Justice Department office in a case referred by the special counsel.
Charges: Acting as an unregistered foreign lobbyist
Result: Pleaded guilty Aug. 31
Shouting "FBI, open the door," authorities arrested Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, before dawn Jan. 25. He faced a seven-count indictment including charges such as witness tampering, obstruction and false statements. The special counsel's office accused him of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks, tampering with witnesses and obstructing the probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to tip the election. Stone was found guilty on all counts in federal court Nov. 15. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6. He could face up to 20 years.