Mueller moves to drop more than 20 criminal counts against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates

Key Points
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller moves to dismiss charges brought against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates in a court in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • The charges include bank fraud and tax fraud.
  • Gates pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal investigators.
Mueller's latest move could mean Rick Gates has something of value

Special counsel Robert Mueller moved Monday to dismiss more than 20 charges against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, multiple outlets reported, after Gates pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy and lying.

The charges being dropped were brought against Gates in a court in Alexandria, Virginia, in keeping with the terms of his plea deal.

"The Office will move promptly to dismiss the remaining counts of the Indictment in this matter," the agreement says. "In addition, the Office will move promptly to dismiss without prejudice the charges brought against your client in the Eastern District of Virginia."

Rick Gates, former deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump, exits Federal Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

If Gates breaks the terms of the agreement, he can be re-charged with the same crimes without having the option to fight his case in Virginia.

Gates, 45, is being relieved of more than 20 criminal counts, all of which were announced Thursday in a second criminal indictment against him and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Gates was a close business associate of Manafort, who is a longtime lobbyist for Ukrainian political parties supportive of pro-Russian former President Viktor Yanukovych. The former Ukrainian president is living in exile in Russia and wanted for high treason by his country.

The superseding indictment charged Gates and Manafort with bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy. The two defendants had previously been charged in October 2017 in a 12-count indictment including money laundering, lying to federal investigators and failing to register as foreign agents.

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On Friday, Gates pleaded guilty to two additional charges on the same day they were issued: conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal investigators. He still faces a prison sentence of nearly six years, but the special counsel has the ability to request a shorter sentence for him.

That tool could be crucial for Mueller's team, who could use the leverage of a lighter prison sentence to yield more valuable information from Gates about the ongoing Russia probe.

Gates was deeply involved in the inner workings of the campaign, and remained a part of Trump's election bid even after Manafort resigned in August 2016. Gates also worked as a liaison between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, and was involved in the presidential transition after the election.

Manafort, on the other hand, has maintained his innocence even as he continues to rack up charges.

"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 following Gates' change of plea.

The former campaign chairman, 68, was hit with five additional criminal counts on Friday, including lying, conspiracy to launder money and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

WATCH: Gates pleads guilty to lying & conspiracy against the US

Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates pleads guilty to lying and conspiracy against the US