Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates stiffed his former lawyer on nearly $370,000 in legal bills he incurred mounting a defense against the criminal charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, a new lawsuit filed Thursday says.
The lawsuit was filed the same day Gates asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to relax his court-imposed travel restrictions.
New York white-collar defense firm Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack said Gates has paid only $20,000 of the $388,525.34 he racked up trying to defend himself against two indictments filed by Mr. Mueller’s team.
Gates was charged with a host of crimes in separate Washington and Virginia indictments, including filing false income tax returns and bank fraud. The allegations are unrelated to his time with the Trump campaign.
In legal papers filed in a New York federal court, the firm says Gates “has failed and refused to pay the amount due and owing.”
The firm began representing Gates after his first indictment in October 2017 and stayed with him until just before he pleaded guilty in February. That month, firm attorney Walter Mack asked to be removed as Gates’ counsel, claiming “irreconcilable differences.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia approved the move. Mr. Gates then hired Thomas Green, a lawyer with Sidley Austin, to represent him. Shortly after Mr. Green came aboard, Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller prosecutors.
Mr. Green continues to represent Gates.
Gates was the government’s star witness in the financial fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in August. During his testimony, Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort’s, confessed to embezzling from his former boss. He also said Manafort directed him to commit crimes, including filing false tax returns.
Also Thursday, Gates filed papers asking Judge Jackson to remove his GPS monitoring device, eliminate his curfew and travel freely around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Mr. Green said the motion was not opposed by the special counsel’s office.
The additional freedoms are sought as a reward for Gates’ cooperation with Mr. Mueller. Gates’ attorney described his meetings with federal investigators as “numerous and they continue to this day.”
“Mr Gates has been a model cooperating witness — making himself available to federal authorities whenever they have requested his assistance,” Mr. Green wrote. “For these many reasons we believe this court can conclude with confidence that Mr. Gates will appear at every call of court and he is deserving of the relief requested.”
It is not clear if Judge Jackson will approve the motion. She rejected a March request, which was also approved by Mr. Mueller, to remove Gates’ GPS device because it was too soon after his guilty plea.