Former Trump aide Rick Gates pleads guilty to two counts in Russia investigation

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Richard Gates, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign aide, plead guilty Friday to two felony counts: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal authorities.

Gates is the latest person in the Trump campaign’s orbit to face charges in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential contest.

The conspiracy, prosecutors say, spans from 2006 to 2017 and involved more than $75 million that flowed through offshore accounts.

Gates is accused of aiding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in obtaining money from those offshore accounts. Like Manafort, Gates used money from offshore accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including his mortgage, children’s tuition, and interior decorating of his Virginia residence.

Prosecutors say Gates also lied to the special counsel’s office on Feb. 1 when he said that Manafort denied to him that Ukraine was discussed at a March 2013 meeting with a lobbyist and member of Congress.

According to the charging document, Manafort never denied that to Gates and he helped Manafort prepare a report referencing Ukraine after the meeting.

“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence. I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise,” Manafort said in a statement. “This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

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