Updated on February 23 at 4:01 p.m.
Rick Gates, a former top aide to President Trump on his campaign and in the White House, pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements, and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election.
On Friday morning, the court unsealed a new “criminal information” document from Mueller, dated February 2, including those two counts. Mueller had previously charged Gates with a range of crimes, with indictments coming from grand juries in both Washington, D.C. (12 counts), and Virginia (32 counts). Gates had previously pleaded not guilty in Washington.
The plea caps a busy series of days in Mueller’s investigation, especially in relation to Gates and his former business partner Paul Manafort, who served for a time in summer of 2016 as Trump’s campaign chair. Earlier this week, a lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Gates. On Thursday, Mueller unsealed a new indictment from a Virginia grand jury with 32 counts that laid out, in extensive detail, an alleged scheme of tax evasion, bank fraud, and conspiracy.
Rumors of a Gates guilty plea have circled for several days now. Gates had reportedly participated in a “queen for a day” interview, in which a prospective cooperator answers questions openly for investigators as part of the plea process, on the agreement that prosecutors won’t use information from the interview against them. Thursday evening, The Daily Beast reported that Gates had fired his attorney, Tom Green; Green then denied that was true.