Mueller upped the stakes this week by filing another 32 charges (paywall) against the two men, alleging tax fraud and other illegal financial tricks-this time to be tried in a separate case in Virginia. Manafort says he had "hoped and expected" that Gates would have "the strength" to continue to trial. Now that Gates is going to plead guilty, so we believe, so it's been reported, what does that mean for Paul Manafort?
The charges against van der Zwana was launched on February 16 in Federal court in Washington.
The new indictment came less than two hours after Gates pleaded guilty to two criminal charges in federal court and pledged to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 presidential election. (Though it's worth noting that the longtime G-man's name is pronounced "MULL-er" as in cruller, not "MULE-er" as in Bueller.) It was first offered a year ago, when Manafort and Gates were charged initially. But remember, Manafort and Gates are not bit players.
In the indictment on Thursday, prosecutors claim that, "Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work".
Legal experts said the charge against Van Der Zwaan would place more pressure on Gates and Manafort to cooperate with Mr Mueller over the Russian interference investigation.More news: Raiders awarded four compensatory draft picks
Gates' agreement to plead guilty to some of the charges indicates he could be willing to cooperate with the investigation into his former business associate.
There were several conflicting reports this week about whether he would plea, with The Daily Beast reporting on Thursday that Gates was ending negotiations with Mueller's team. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details.
LUCAS: Well, remember, there's always been a part of Mueller's mandate that it can look into matters that arise during the course of the investigation, and these financial issues clearly fit under that umbrella.
The two men initially pleaded not guilty to all counts and were placed on house arrest. They are accused of directing a covert Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests. The indictment itself does not mention anything related to any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, which is what Mueller was appointed to investigate. If Gates were convicted of all the earlier charges, he could have faced years in prison.
The alleged money laundering scheme lasted for decades, and helped Manafort disguise income he made as a lobbyist and political consultant to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned former Ukrainian president.