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 lawyers for ex-Trump aide Rick Gates, indicted alongside Paul Manafort, have asked for permission to withdraw from the case "effective immediately." pic.twitter.com/iEG4X41TKd
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) February 1, 2018
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.
Three lawyers representing Trump associate Rick Gates in money-laundering case against him have asked to be dropped from the case. Meanwhile, Tom Green, a lawyer known for hammering out plea deals, stays on as counsel for Gates.
— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) February 1, 2018
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.
JUST IN: Paul Manafort’s business partner, Rick Gates, is no longer subject to home confinement after a judge vacated that condition of his bail in an order signed moments ago.
Manafort remains under home confinement.
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 16, 2018
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.
The dominoes are falling. Once they’re down, Manafort, Trump — and possibly many others — will go down with them.