Paul Manafort’s Business Partner May Be Negotiating A Plea Deal

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Multiple signs point to the possibility that Rick Gates is pursuing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Reports surfaced last week that former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges of money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying and other business, had added prominent white collar attorney Tom Green to his defense team.

A recent court filing indicates that other attorneys for Gates are now seeking to withdraw from his defense, raising suspicious further that Gates might be looking to strike a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

They provided a reason to the court under seal. Walter Mack, one of the now-former attorneys for Gates, declined to comment Thursday. In addition to Mack, the other two attorneys seeking to withdraw are Shanlon Wu and Annemarie McAvoy.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Business Insider that changes to Gates' defense team could be a signal a plea negotiation, but other options are possible as well:

"It's also possible that [Gates] has lied to them and they don't feel comfortable going forward, or he hasn't paid them," Mariotti said, emphasizing that there could be a number of reasons for why the political consultant's lawyers have requested to withdraw from the case.

Along with the changes to Gates' legal team, CNN also reported that attorneys from Green's firm were seen entering Mueller's building on Thursday.