Prosecutors: Mueller Witness Whose Testimony Doomed Manafort Was Offered Money Not to Cooperate

Former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, the former Paul Manafort associate who flipped and cooperated with the Mueller investigation, was offered “monetary assistance” not to cooperate with the government, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

From the government’s motion for downward departure and memo in aid of sentencing (you can read the rest of the filing below):

Finally, is important to note that the public nature of this case has made Gates and Gates’ family the subject of intense media scrutiny. Gates’ cooperation has been steadfast despite the fact that the government has asked for his assistance in high profile matters, against powerful individuals, in the midst of a particularly turbulent environment. Gates received pressure not to cooperate with the government, including assurances of monetary assistance. He should be commended for standing up to provide information and public testimony against individuals such as Manafort, Craig, and Stone, knowing well that they enjoy support from the upper echelons of American politics and society. Based on his substantial assistance, the government recommends a downward departure and does not oppose Gates’ request for a probationary sentence.

Note that while the government did not say who was applying the pressure and making these monetary “assurances,” it did praise Gates for testifying against Manafort, Greg Craig, and Roger Stone, despite the fact that these individuals had friends in high places.

CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig immediately reacted to the news.

“Holy crap. According to federal prosecutors, Gates was promised ‘monetary assistance’ if he did not cooperate? By who?? That’s a lay-down-your-hand obstruction case,” he said.

Gates was the government’s star witness at Manafort’s Virginia trial, which ended with Manafort’s conviction and incarceration.

Connected to this story, prosecutors recommended that Gates get probation. Gates’s sentencing has repeatedly been pushed back due to his ongoing cooperation with the government. The government called that cooperation “extraordinary.”

Gates previously pleaded guilty to a tax fraud-related conspiracy against the United States and for making false statements to the Justice Department.

Rick Gates memo by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via Brendan SmialowskiI/AFP/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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