Rick Gates, the longtime partner of Paul Manafort and onetime Trump campaign aide, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and a $20,000 fine Tuesday for financial crimes and lying to federal investigators. It’s an extremely light sentence for crimes that could have put him in jail for up to six years, but Gates was spared because he proved such a valuable cooperating witness for Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Along with the fine and jail time, which he will be allowed to serve on the weekends, Gates will be on probation for three years and perform 300 hours of community service.
Gates began his relationship with Paul Manafort as a law firm intern decades ago. Over the years, Gates became Manafort’s right-hand man, working with him in Ukraine on behalf of pro-Russia ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. When the Trump campaign brought on Manafort in early 2016, Gates came along too. Even though his mentor’s tenure on the Trump campaign was short-lived — Manafort lasted just six months — Gates managed to hang on, even helping to run the inauguration.
In October of 2017, Gates and Manafort were reunited when both were indicted on money laundering and tax-fraud charges. By February of the following year, Gates had flipped. He went on to serve as a model informant, offering prosecutors “evidence about matters of grave and international importance,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at his sentencing Tuesday.
“Gates’s information alone warranted, even demanded further investigation from the standpoint of national security, the integrity of our elections, and enforcing criminal laws,” Jackson said.
According to his lawyers, Gates was interviewed for more than 500 hours by federal agents. Court documents show he “met with F.B.I. agents and prosecutors roughly 50 times and provided information that was used in more than a dozen search warrants,” the Times reports. Most prominently, Gates testified against Roger Stone and his old his old friend Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to 47 months in federal prison last March.