Mueller, Gates attorneys request sentencing delay due to cooperation in 'several' probes

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE and attorneys for former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates on Friday asked a federal judge to further postpone his sentencing on account of cooperation in “several ongoing investigations.”

Lawyers on both sides asked a federal judge in a joint filing to push back the sentencing date, citing Gates's ongoing assistance in several unnamed probes, adding more mystery to the questions of what information Gates is providing to federal investigators.

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Gates, who was Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBharara: 'Doesn't seem' Mueller's investigation 'ending any time soon' Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump condemns 'horrible' New Zealand mosque shootings MORE’s ex-business partner and President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE’s former deputy campaign chairman, has been cooperating with Mueller’s probe for more than a year. However, it remains unclear what other investigations he may be assisting in.

Gates was indicted alongside Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, in October 2017 on charges stemming from their lobbying work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

He pleaded guilty in February 2018 to a conspiracy charge and to making false statements to the FBI and the special counsel’s office as part of a deal to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation.

Last year, Gates testified against Manafort during the former Trump campaign chairman's criminal trial in Virginia. A federal jury later convicted Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and hiding a foreign bank account.

Gates is viewed as a potentially significant witness as Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. During the 2016 campaign, Gates was Manafort’s deputy and then worked on the Trump transition team.

Mueller’s prosecutors have repeatedly requested delays in Gates’s sentencing. Their most recent status report was filed in mid-January.

“To date, the status of this matter has not changed substantially since the January report, as defendant Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time,” Friday’s joint filing states.

Later Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge overseeing Gates' case in D.C., ordered the parties to submit their next status report on or before May 14.

Their request to again delay Gates’s sentencing comes amid rampant speculation that Mueller is nearing the end of his probe, which has proceeded for nearly two years. During that time, President Trump has regularly derided the investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and denying that his campaign colluded with Moscow.

The latest development in the Gates case could signal that the conclusion of the investigation is further off, though it’s also possible that Gates is cooperating in other investigations that don't pertain directly to the Mueller probe.

Gates is seen as a likely witness in the federal probe of Trump’s inaugural committee being run by prosecutors in Manhattan, given that he worked for the inaugural committee under Tom Barrack, the organization's chairman. Gates has not been named by officials as cooperating in that investigation, however. 

Typically, prosecutors and attorneys for a defendant seek to delay sentencing until cooperation is no longer needed so that the individual is incentivized to provide as much information as possible and receive the maximum benefit for helping officials.

--Updated at 10:52 a.m.