The LA Times is reporting that Robert Mueller has flipped Rick Gates, who will cooperate and testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
A former top aide to Donald Trump's presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.
The change of heart by Trump's former deputy campaign manager, Richard W. Gates III, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort's, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.
"Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,'' said a person with direct knowledge of the new developments, adding that the revised plea will be presented in federal court in Washington "within the next few days.''
That individual and others who discussed the matter spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a judge's gag order restricting comments about the case to the news media or public.
Gates' defense lawyer, Thomas C. Green, did not respond to messages left by phone and email. Peter Carr, a spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, declined on Saturday to comment.
Mueller is heading the prosecutions of Gates and Manafort as part of the wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump or his aides committed crimes before, during or since the campaign.
The imminent change of Gates' plea follows negotiations over the last several weeks between Green and two of Mueller's prosecutors – senior assistant special counsels Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres.
According to a person familiar with those talks, Gates, a longtime political consultant, can expect "a substantial reduction in his sentence'' if he fully cooperates with the investigation. He said that Gates is apt to serve about 18 months in prison.
The real news is Gates's openness to testifying against Manafort. Up until this point we really haven't had anyone fully flip other than to say that they would cooperate. It's allowed Trump supporters and Trump himself to gaslight the press. Cooperate could mean anything, nobody's turned against Trump because nothing happened.
As with the gaslighting that the Russians didn't interfere with the election and there wasn't a conspiracy to do so, it just died screaming in the last several hours.