Manafort co-defendant's lawyers quit

Lawyers for Richard Gates, a former Trump campaign aide charged with tax fraud and money laundering last year as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia probe, have filed a motion to leave the case.

Gates's lawyers filed the motion Thursday, though the reason for their leaving was not made public.


"Pursuant to Local Rule 44.5(d), undersigned counsel hereby move to withdraw as counsel of record in this case effective immediately for the reasons set forth in Exhibit 1 which is the subject of a motion to be filed under seal," the filing reads.

The motion by Gates's lawyers comes just under a week after CNN reported that Gates, a former business associate of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortVirginia judge calls Manafort’s plea deal ‘highly unusual,’ but is it? Three reasons Mueller may not charge Trump with obstruction Judge calls Manafort plea deal 'highly unusual' MORE, who is also facing charged as part of Mueller's investigation, could be moving to cooperate with the special counsel.

Gates, who entered a not guilty plea to eight charges in October, added a top Washington defense attorney, Tom Green, to his counsel in January. Green was seen leaving Mueller's offices multiple times during the month, CNN reported, fueling the speculation that Gates was moving to cooperate. Green was not among the three lawyers who resigned from the case Thursday.

Walter Mack, one of the attorneys who resigned Thursday, said in court last month that Mueller's prosecutors had warned him of more impending charges in the case against Gates.

Mueller's prosecutors have charged four figures tied to President Trump's campaign so far, including Gates, Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosCalif. man ensnared in Mueller probe sentenced to 6 months in prison The Mueller investigation: Where it stands at the midterms Mr. President, tear down the wall hiding those FISA abuses MORE.

Papadopoulos and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents last year. Gates was released from house arrest earlier this month.