Ex-Trump campaign official Gates sentenced to 45 days in jail

Richard Gates, a former Trump deputy campaign chairman and top aide, on Tuesday was sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to charges involving financial fraud and lying to federal investigators.

Gates also received three years of probation and a $20,000 fine. But he avoided a significant prison sentence thanks to the assistance he gave to prosecutors. Federal sentencing guidelines would have recommended between 46 months and 57 months in prison based on Gates's charges.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by former President Obama, ruled that Gates could choose to serve the jail sentence intermittently and when it's convenient for him.

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In handing down the sentence, Jackson made note of Gates's extensive cooperation with the special counsel and the fact that he is caring for his sick wife and their four children.

In a brief statement in the courtroom, Gates choked up as he expressed regret for the crimes.

"I accept completely my responsibility for my actions," he said.

After the sentencing, Gates reported to the court's probation office and said nothing to reporters as he and his lawyer left the courthouse.

Gates cooperated with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office following his February 2018 guilty plea. He later testified in the trials of his former boss and onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s longtime associate, Roger Stone.

In a filing last week, U.S. attorneys said Gates’s cooperation with federal investigators amounted to “extraordinary assistance.”

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“He met with investigators more than fifty times, providing truthful information to the Special Counsel’s Office and several other prosecuting offices of the Department of Justice,” federal prosecutors told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Department of Justice had agreed with Gates's lawyers that he did not deserve any prison time for his role in helping run Manafort's criminal enterprise.

Gates in 2018 pleaded guilty to assisting Manafort in hiding their work for the Ukrainian government and shielding their income from taxes by running it through offshore bank accounts.

But despite both sides recommending leniency, Jackson said she struggled to decide an appropriate sentence in light of the severity of Gates and Manafort's financial scheme. She noted that Gates had engaged in the crimes over a number of years and of his own free will, and dismissed any notion that he had been negatively influenced by a corrupt political culture.

"Politics don't corrupt people, people corrupt politics," Jackson said from the bench.

Ultimately, she decided against sending him to prison, but his 45-day jail sentence was still more than the prosecutors had recommended.

As part of a plea agreement with the special counsel's office, Gates assisted investigators and testified to help secure convictions against Stone and Manafort. Manafort was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Stone was convicted of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering and is set to be sentenced in February.

Gates also testified against Greg Craig in the former Obama White House counsel's trial over charges of lying to the government about his work for Ukraine. A jury acquitted Craig in September.

Updated at 1:48 p.m.