Lawyers of indicted Trump associate just made a stunning announcement in court

Rick Gates, the indicted Trump aide who served as deputy to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, just received some very bad news.

Three of his lawyers, Shanlon Wu, Walter Mack and Annemarie McAvoy, filed a motion today requesting that a federal court allow them to withdraw their representation of Gates in the Russian conspiracy case, “effective immediately.”

The only lawyer remaining on Gates’ team, Tom Green, was seen at Mueller’s office twice in one week at the end of January.

Green is known for specializing in plea deals. 

If Gates is switching his plea to guilty and joining former Trump national security advisor, Mike Flynn, and former Trump foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, as a Mueller witness, that could spell disaster for Manafort and the Presidon’t.

With a guilty plea from Gates, Mueller would have three convictions under his belt in the Trump-Russia case.

Gates knows everything about Manafort, a known Russian asset who was present at the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin agents peddling “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in exchange for lifting sanctions against Russia for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.

Gates pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges, including money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S., along with Manafort, who pleaded not guilty to twelve, and is now out on $10 million bail.

Mr. Mack told a  court in December that federal prosecutors had warned him that more charges might await Gates, and then suddenly, in mid-January, a judge released him from house arrest.

In other words, the evidence suggests that plea deal negotiations have been taking place since December and the resignation of Gates’ lawyers signifies the culmination of that process.

No wonder Trump and his congressional Republican henchmen are fighting so hard to obstruct the Russia investigation.

The dominoes are falling.  Once they’re down, Manafort, Trump — and possibly many others — will go down with them.

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Lucia Brawley

Lucia Brawley is a Harvard- and Yale-educated writer, producer, actor, and political organizer. She runs the progressive political Facebook group Consenting to Lead. To learn more, please go to Follow her on Twitter: @luciabrawley