Former campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and making a false statement, becoming the third associate of President Donald Trump to make a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, NBC News reported.
The plea turns up the pressure on Paul Manafort, a close business associate of Gates who was the chairman of the Trump campaign. The two were indicted in October on conspiracy and other charges related to their lobbying work in Ukraine.
A criminal information filed ahead of the plea hearing says that between 2006 and 2007, Gates and others "conspired to defraud the United States by impeding impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury."
In addition, he admits he lied about a March 19, 2013, meeting attended by Manafort, a lobbyist, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and that he falsely denied that Ukraine was discussed and that he was preparing a report for Ukraine's leadership.