Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson wants to know why Mueller target Richard W. Gates, III appears to have participated via video feed in a fundraiser organized by Jack Burkman. The fundraiser appears to have been open to journalists, the court noted today, and the video of Gates’ participation remains available on social media platforms. The court is demanding that Gates explain why the video should not be considered a direct violation of a gag order the judge issued earlier in the prosecution.
WATCH the video in the player above.
Gates served as deputy chair of President Trump’s election campaign. His boss, Paul Manafort, was the campaign manager. Gates and Manafort had also worked together before joining the campaign. They are both currently under federal indictment on charges they channeled millions of dollars through foreign accounts, mostly in the Ukraine, to evade American laws.
The parties to the Gates case were to “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case,” according to an earlier November 8, 2017 order from Judge Jackson, as quoted in other court documents on file. The gag order is known as Order 38.
Gates remains officially under house arrest.
Gates talked in the video about his “cause” and about a goal of “ensuring that our supporters from across the United States hear our message and stand with us,” the court noted in a record entry today, December 22nd.
The judge also wants Gates to explain his relationship with Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, who the court entry states also spoke at the December 19, 2017 fundraiser. There, Burkman apparently described the Gates prosecution as “very unfair,” the court entry says. (Unrelatedly, Burkman has also sought to independently investigate the murder of Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich, whose death has become a political football for conspiracy theorists who claim his murder was politically motivated.)
In the one-minute, fifteen-second video, which remains accessible via Facebook and which has been viewed by Law&Crime, a man who appears to be and who purports to be Gates says:
Good evening, and thank you for being here tonight. I am both grateful and humbled that you would come out this evening in such a strong showing of support. I am thankful for your generosity and your kindness beyond words. Despite not being with you in person tonight, I wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to say thank you for your support and for your belief in my cause.
By being here tonight, you are giving us the tools that we will need to fight, and for that I am extremely grateful.
As you may be aware, there is a gag order on the case, so I am not able to talk specifically about the case. However, I can say that, because of people like you, we will have the resources to fight. Thank you especially to Jack Burkman, for hosting the fundraiser, for believing in my cause, and ensuring supporters from across the United States hear our message and stand with us. Jack, thank you for your work, your commitment, and your dedication. On behalf of me and my family, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of hope and belief that our country is the greatest country in the world. I am certain that each day in the New Year, we will continue to strive to be even greater.
God be with you. Thank you very much.
Gates must show the Court by December 27, 2017, why that video does not violate the court’s gag order in the case and further explain his relationship with Burkman.
[Image via video screen capture.]
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