00:50 GMT17 June 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A judge at the District Court for the District of Columbia set a sealed hearing for Friday in the case of Rick Gates, a former associate of President Donald Trump, after the defendant's lawyers submitted a motion to withdraw, according to an electronic filing.

    "It is ordered by the Court that a sealed hearing on the [161] Motion for Leave to Withdraw as Counsel of Record is scheduled for Friday, February 23," the electronic filing said on Thursday.

    The hearing will deal with Gates' attorneys' request to retrieve from the case over what they have described as "irreconcilable differences." Sealed or closed-door hearing means that no public and nonessential staff can be present in a courtroom.

    Gates was indicted last October alongside former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been investigated for his alleged links to Russia in the 2016 US presidential election.

    Last week, media published that Gates has been negotiating a plea deal and has already addressed to the team of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the Russia investigation.

    READ MORE: Former Trump Campaign Aide Gates' Attorneys Withdraw From Russia Case

    Last week, media reported that Gates had been negotiating the plea deal for a month and had already spoken to the team of US Special Counsel. While Gates' deal with the probe might be used by Mueller to build a case against Trump or his officials.

    In October, the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced that Manafort and Gates were indicted on 12 counts, including for failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 for their work for the Ukrainian government.

    READ MORE: "Russiagate" Morphs Into a War on Dissent

    Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, while Russian officials have said the allegations of interference in the US election are groundless and go counter to the principles and conduct of Russian foreign policy.


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    hearing, plea deal, investigation, US Federal Court, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Robert Mueller, Donald Trump, US
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