Federal prosecutors signaled on Monday that they could call Rick Gates, the Trump campaign’s former deputy chairman, to testify at two high-profile upcoming criminal trials that resulted from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Gates could get tapped as a witness in the Justice Department’s cases against both former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, according to a joint status report that says Gates “continues to cooperate” with the government and isn’t yet ready for his own sentencing.
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Mueller secured a guilty plea from Gates in February 2018 on charges of financial fraud and lying to investigators. Last summer, Mueller’s prosecutors used Gates as a star witness in the Paul Manafort trial, which secured a conviction and ultimately a sentence of nearly seven and a half years against the former Trump campaign chairman.
In their joint request Monday for another delay on Gates’ sentencing, lawyers for Gates and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington mentioned both the Craig and Stone trials as a reason for another postponement. The U.S. Attorney’s Office inherited many of the Mueller cases since his office closed up shop.
Craig has pleaded not guilty to the government’s charges of making false statements and concealing material information about his work in private practice lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s government. The work, which started in 2012 after his White House stint, was meant to be used by Manafort as he helped Ukraine’s former president defend himself against charges of jailing a political opponent.
The Craig trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 12 in Washington.
Stone’s case, also in D.C., is slated for trial Nov. 5. There, the Republican operative has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to Congress and obstructed its Russia investigation about his efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks and his contacts with the Trump campaign.
Gates has offered the Mueller investigators a wide window into Trump’s orbit. He’s mentioned dozens of times in the redacted version of the special counsel’s final report released last month, including in a section describing internal Trump campaign strategy sessions about the WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic emails.
A former senior Trump campaign official, Gates also told Mueller’s investigators about internal conversations ahead of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Manafort, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
According to the Mueller report, Gates said in his interviews with the special counsel’s prosecutors that Trump Jr. had announced at a regular morning campaign meeting just days before the Trump Tower meeting “that he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation.”
In their joint status report, federal prosecutors and an attorney for Gates also said they’d provide their next update to the court by Aug. 30.