Former Trump Campaign Advisor Rick Gates Is Preparing To Plead Guilty & Begin Cooperating With Robert Mueller's Investigation

Former Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates has agreed to plead guilty and strike a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in exchange for cooperation with Mueller’s investigation into any interference by the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Reports of a plea have been circulating for about a month, especially since Gates’s defense lawyers backed out of representing him, according to Business Insider. Last October, Gates was indicted with 12 counts of various fraud charges, including money laundering and tax fraud, as well as conspiring against the U.S.

Gates has already taken part in a "Queen for a Day" interview, according to CNN, where a defendant answers any questions by the prosecution about their current case in addition to any other crimes that may have have observed.

Meanwhile, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was also indicted on the same charges, but pleaded not guilty. Gates’s compliance could shake up Manafort’s testimony, which Mueller has been particularly interested in given Manafort’s many uncertain business ties to Russia. Gates worked under Manafort as deputy campaign chairman in 2016.

Gates’s impending plea comes as a sign of apparent cooperation with Mueller’s team for the ongoing investigation. CNN reported that the counsel is even looking into new charges to bring against Gates, which could add to the pressure for the plea. Gates is currently facing up at least 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Should the plea deal transpire, Gates would become the third former White House employee known to be working with Mueller. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to federal investigators, are both reported to be contributing to the investigation.

Related: President Trump's Campaign Manager Charged in Mueller Investigation

A White House official told CNN, "There'd be no anxiety here" should Gates follow through with a plea deal and act as a witness in Mueller’s probe.