By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge sentenced U.S. President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates to 36 months of probation and ordered him to serve an intermittent term of 45 days in jail, saying that while she was moved by his extensive cooperation with prosecutors, she still felt some punishment was in order.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she had struggled for some time with how to sentence Gates, who met with investigators more than 50 times and helped the government secure convictions of Republican operatives Paul Manafort and Roger Stone after he pleaded guilty in February 2018 to lying to the FBI and the special counsel's office and conspiring against the United States.
Jackson said that everyday she sees people who commit crimes "of a much more limited scope" than Gates' offenses who are motivated by drug addictions and poverty, and who then, like Gates, become government witnesses by turning on their own friends and neighbors.
"Even they often serve some time," Jackson noted.
Gates, who held senior posts on the president's campaign team and inauguration committee, was one of several former Trump aides and advisers to be charged in Mueller's investigation that documented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Gates, 47, initially pleaded not guilty but reversed himself in February 2018 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Jackson also said he will be required to pay a $20,000 fine, complete community service and continue cooperating in several still-ongoing investigations.
"I wish to express to this court that I accept complete responsibility for my actions that have led me here," Gates said before the sentence was imposed.
"I greatly regret the mistakes I have made and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends. My family and I appreciate your consideration for leniency, and I hope and pray that you will give that to me."
Under the sentencing guidelines calculated by the government, he could have faced up to 4-3/4 years in prison.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)
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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2019 04:10:25 IST