Mueller Pushes Back Key Witness’ Sentencing for Two Months, With ‘Several Investigations’ Ongoing

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One of the most important witnesses in the Russia investigation, whose status with the Special Counsel’s Office may be a barometer of Robert Mueller’s progress, just had his sentencing pushed back for another two months.

As observers ask the question of whether Special Counsel Mueller is ready to wrap up his investigation, Mueller has announced that, once again, former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates is not ready to be sentenced. Why? Because he continues to cooperate in “several ongoing investigations.”

The one-page Friday filing said as follows, in relevant part:

The parties previously filed a Joint Status Report on January 15, 2019 and proposed to send an ensuing report within sixty days and no later than March 15, 2019. To date, the status of this matter has not change substantially since the November 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.

The next joint status report is expected no later than May 14, 2019 — or, two months from now. Gates, a former associate of the doubly sentenced Paul Manafort, was a key witness during Manafort’s Eastern District of Virginia trial. Behind the scenes, Gates would have also had information for Mueller about Manafort’s lies in breach of a plea deal. Remember when a federal judge agreed that Manafort lied about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik at the Grand Havana Room? Rick Gates was not only present for that meeting, he also knew about something that was printed for it.

Another ongoing investigation that Gates is undoubtedly assisting with has to do with President Donald Trump‘s inauguration. Gates, an admitted fraudster, was the Inaugural Committee’s deputy chair.

It just so happens that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are reportedly investigating whether the 2017 Inauguration Committee misspent some of the $107 million raised from contributors. One aspect of this investigation is also said to concern allegations that donors gave money in exchange for access into and influence within the Trump administration.

The Gates update is a just a bit more of the same. The prior two updates from Mueller were basically the one we saw today verbatim.

From Jan. 15, 2019, for example:

The parties previously filed a Joint Status Report on November 14, 2018 and proposed to send an ensuing report within 60 days and no later than January 15, 2019. To date, the status of this matter has not change substantially since the November 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.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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