Rick Gates' former trial attorney says the ex-Trump campaign staffer and Mueller investigation cooperator stiffed the law firm of almost $370,000.
The New York white collar defense firm Doar Rieck Kaley & Mack sued Gates on Thursday, seeking the unpaid legal fees plus interest and court costs. One of the lawyers at the firm, Walter Mack, represented Gates from the early days following his indictment in October 2017 until February of this year, days before Gates pleaded guilty. Two other lawyers also represented Gates during that time and worked closely with Mack.
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In all, Mack's law firm says Gates owes them $388,525.34. He has only paid $20,000.
The new lawsuit highlights the disarray of Gates' legal representation as his fought charges against special counsel Robert Mueller. When he was first indicted, Gates split with the lawyer who had represented him while he was first under investigation. A federal public defender showed up to help him at his first court appearance following the indictment. Mack and two other defense attorneys, Annemarie McAvoy and Shanlon Wu, took him as a client days later -- and prepared to take him to trial as he maintained his innocence. Wu is a CNN legal analyst.
But in January, Gates secretly engaged another lawyer, Tom Green, to negotiate a plea deal with Mueller's office.
Gates kept his trial team in the dark about the negotiations and Green's work, according to emails unsealed by a court this week. After CNN reported on Green's efforts for Gates, Mack, McAvoy and Wu tried to leave the case -- only to be delayed by the judge as Green separately finalized the plea deal. The lawyers were released from representing Gates on the eve of his guilty plea hearing.
Green continues to represent Gates in court related to his cooperation with the special counsel's office. His sentencing is not yet scheduled.
Mack, McAvoy and Wu each work for separate firms. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is not known if the sum alleged in the lawsuit from Mack would cover all three of the lawyers' expenses. Green also did not respond to questions Thursday.