A former aide to then-candidate Donald Trump has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to fraud-related charges and will testify against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The former aide, former deputy campaign manager Richard Gates, previously pleaded not guilty in October after being indicted on charges related to financial crimes, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,'' said a person who has direct knowledge of the situation but is not allowed to speak on the record since the judge has issued a gag order on the case. According to the source, Gates will change his plea "within the next few days.''
Gates' change of heart is thought to center around the fact that he does not have the money needed for a "high-powered legal defense" and the fact that prosecutors are expected to significantly cut down his sentence if he cooperates.
"He can't afford to pay it,'' one lawyer told the Times. "If you go to trial on this, that's $1 million to $1.5 million. Maybe more, if you need experts'' to appear as witnesses.
These latest developments with Gates come after Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced last week indictments against 13 Russian nationals for their role in meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
"Now, there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity," said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a press conference on Friday. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."