DENVER – One of the former Trump campaign officials indicted Monday on multiple charges including conspiracy and money laundering, Rick Gates, once served on the board of a Denver-based ID theft company.
Gates and Manafort both pleaded not guilty to 12 counts against them unsealed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition to the multiple conspiracy and money laundering counts, Gates and Manafort face conspiracy against the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent, and failure to report foreign financial accounts and transactions charges.
According to a 2011 press release, Gates was on the board of ID Watchdog. With offices downtown in downtown Denver, the firm provides ID theft protection services. Recently acquired by Equifax, Gates resigned from his post immediately after the 2016 election.
Gates and Manafort could face more than 10 years in prison each if they are convicted on the charges. But they could also get some leniency in exchange for giving up information relating to a bigger case that could be part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
There's also a possibility the president himself could rescue two of his most well-known supporters, as there is a history of some presidents pardoning people preemptively.
“We have a history of allowing presidents to pardon people preemptively. For example, Ford pardoned Nixon and Nixon faced no charges at that time," said University of Denver law professor John Campbell.
It’s a move that would come with some risk, as neither Gates nor Manafort would not be immune from talking to investigators.
"If you have a pardon, and there's no risk of prosecution, you don't have Fifth Amendment protection not to talk,” said Campbell.