Rick Gates, the former business associate of President Donald Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort, has lost his legal team. Both Gates and Manafort were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in connection with his Russian probe.
Politico obtained a two-page “motion for leave to withdraw as counsel” which was filed by three of Gates' lawyers on Feb 1.
“Pursuant to Local Rule 44.5(d), undersigned counsel hereby move to withdraw as counsel of record in this case effective immediately for the reasons set forth in Exhibit 1 which is the subject of a motion to be filed under seal,” the letter, signed by lawyers Shanlon Wu, Walter Mack and Annemarie McAvoy, reads.
The lawyers are under a gag order and are unable to comment further but McAvoy told Politico, “the document speaks for itself." The documents that detail the lawyers' precise reasoning are sealed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Why would his lawyers withdraw from the case?
CNN reported that Gates added Tom Green to his legal team, a well-known white-collar attorney, this week. Green has represented several politicians, according to his website, and represented Robert Mardian of President Nixon’s administration, during the Watergate scandal. According to CNN, Green is also known for "cutting plea deals."
Both Gates and Manafort are facing 12 criminal charges, including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent and knowingly making false statements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The indictment report alleges that more than $75 million moved through offshore accounts that Manafort and Gates established during the time Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager during the summer of 2016.
While Gates has been on house arrest since being indicted, he reportedly received approval to leave his home to attend a New Year’s Eve party last December.
According to Politico, a criminal trial likely won't happen until September.