Richard W. Gates III|
April 27, 1972
|Nationality||United States of America|
College of William and Mary (BA)|
George Washington University (MPP)
|Criminal charge||conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in 2017 Special Counsel investigation|
|Criminal status||pleaded guilty|
Richard W. Gates III (born April 27, 1972) is an American former political consultant and lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements. He is a longtime business associate of Paul Manafort and served as deputy to Manafort when the latter was campaign manager of the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016.
Gates and Manafort were both indicted in October 2017 on charges related to their consulting work with pro-Russian political figures in Ukraine. Additional charges were filed in District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on February 21, 2018, however these charges were withdrawn on February 27, 2018, without prejudice, as agreed to in his plea bargain with Robert S. Mueller III.
Gates is the son of Richard W. Gates, Jr., a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, who is the founder and CEO of the Gates Group International, a management and information technology firm based in Prince George County, Virginia. An Army brat, Gates lived on multiple military installations in the U.S. and overseas as a boy. His family finally settled in Prince George County near Fort Lee, where his father was stationed in the late 1980s. He graduated from Prince George High School (1990) and the College of William & Mary (1994) with a degree in Government. Later, he earned a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University.
Early in his career, Gates was an intern at the Washington, D.C., consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. There, he worked with Republican lobbyist Rick Davis, eventually going to work for him and Manafort in 2006 at their new consulting firm, Davis Manafort, with an office in Kiev, Ukraine. Among the clients Gates worked with were Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, taking over this work when Davis left the firm in 2008 to work on the presidential campaign of John McCain. Together, they were instrumental in brokering a meeting between McCain and Deripaska in 2006.
In June 2016, when Donald Trump promoted Manafort to the post of campaign manager, Gates went to work for and became the campaign's number two, handling the day-to-day activities of the campaign including taking responsibility for apparent plagiarism in Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention. Gates stayed on as number two in the campaign after Manafort was forced out, and then went to work as deputy chairman of the Donald Trump Inaugural Committee. He helped to form a pro-Trump nonprofit group called America First Policies but was removed from the organization due to his involvement with Manafort's overseas ventures.
On October 27, 2017, Gates and Manafort were indicted by a federal grand jury as part of the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters. The twelve-count indictment charges the two men with conspiracy against the United States, making false statements, money laundering, and failing to register as foreign agents for Ukraine as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The charges arise from his consulting work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.
While awaiting trial, Manafort was released on $10 million bond and Gates was released on $5 million bond. Prosecutors described them as flight risks, and as a condition of pretrial release, both men surrendered their passports and were placed under house arrest.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued an order on December 22, 2017 demanding that Gates explain why his comments in a brief, videotaped address to the fundraiser held in an Arlington, Va., Holiday Inn, on December 19, did not amount to a violation of the gag order she issued in the case. Of particular concern to Jackson is Gates' involvement with the eccentric Washington-area lobbyist who organized the event, Jack Burkman.
On January 23, 2018, CNN reported that Gates had added prominent white-collar attorney Tom Green to his defense team. The action could relate to a change in strategy, e.g. from a flat not-guilty plea to some kind of cooperation with prosecutors. On February 22, The Daily Beast reported that Gates fired Green, but later corrected its story.
On February 15, 2018, CNN reported that Gates had begun finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he was poised to cooperate in the special counsel's investigation, as he had undergone his "Queen for a Day" interview, in which he answered any and all questions from the special counsel's team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed or participated in, with the only stipulation being that he could not lie. During this proffer session interview, on February 1, Gates lied to FBI investigators, and this false statement made by Gates was incorporated into the plea bargain that he subsequently entered into.
On February 22, 2018, Mueller revealed new charges in the Manafort and Gates case, filed on February 21. Unlike previous indictments, the superseding indictment was issued by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and contains 32 counts: 16 counts related to false individual income tax returns, seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy, and four counts of bank fraud.
On February 23, 2018, Gates pleaded guilty to one count of false statements and one count of conspiracy against the United States. The plea bargain included an agreement to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. Federal guidelines suggest Gates will face a sentence of 57 to 71 months, but these are only advisory and are subject to discretion. A status report with regard to sentencing was scheduled for May 14, 2018.