Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates gets 45 days in jail after cooperation in lobbying case

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Former Deputy Trump campaign aide Rick Gates arrives at federal court in Wa
Former Deputy Trump campaign aide Rick Gates arrives at federal court in Washington on Dec. 17, 2019.   -   Copyright  Jose Luis Magana AP

Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump and ex-business partner of Paul Manafort, was sentenced to three years probation and 45 days in jail on Tuesday after he cooperated extensively with federal investigators.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Gates can serve the sentence on weekends and fined him $20,000, in addition to 300 hours of community service. She said Manafort would not have been as successful in his crimes if it were not for Gates.

"I wish to express to this court that I accept complete responsibility for my actions that have led me here," Gates said before his sentencing. "I greatly regret the mistakes I've made and I've worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends."

Gates and Manafort were the first ex-Trump campaign officials to be charged by former special counsel Robert Mueller, accused of evading taxes and violating lobbying laws by concealing millions of dollars they earned representing pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Gates had pleaded guilty and spent more than 500 hours assisting government lawyers and federal agents.

His lawyers told Jackson that he should avoid jail time because he cooperated extensively with the government. Federal prosecutors did not oppose that request.

Manafort is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison after he was convicted on charges that he evaded taxes and violated federal lobbying laws by concealing millions of dollars he and Gates earned in Ukraine.

Gates, who pleaded guilty in 2018, agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team and other federal investigators. Court documents show he met with investigators at least 50 times, spending more than 500 hours with government lawyers and federal agents. He testified as a government witness in Manafort's trial as well as the trial of Trump's longtime associate Roger Stone and former President Barack Obama's White House Counsel Greg Craig, who did legal work for Manafort.

Gates provided "extraordinary assistance," federal prosecutors said in their memo telling the judge they would not oppose his request for probation.

Gates joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and later served on the president's inaugural committee. He an Manafort were indicted in October 2017, and Gates pleaded guilty the following February.