Rick Gates, former deputy to Paul Manafort, became the latest high-profile convict to be granted a request for release on home confinement during the coronavirus outbreak, due to the risk to Gates’ wife, who is being treated for cancer, reports Courthouse News Service. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti have both secured similar requests to serve time from the comfort of their home due to the spread of COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. “If Mr. Gates were to return to his home carrying the virus, it could create serious ramifications for his wife,” defense attorney Thomas Green argued. “Due to her cancer treatment, her immune system is compromised, placing her at heightened risk for serious side effects or worse if she were to be infected with the coronavirus.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the request Tuesday. Gates was sentenced last year to three years probation plus 45 days in jail for lying to the FBI and financial crimes. The Justice Department did not oppose Gates’ request. Judge Jackson, who handled several cases arising from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, had allowed the former Trump campaign deputy turned star witness to serve prison time on weekends to continue as the primary caretaker for his children while his wife underwent treatment. Gates provided key witness testimony against his former boss, Manafort, as well as longtime Trump ally Roger Stone. Last week, Manafort, 71, argued he is at high risk of developing complications if he contracts COVID-19.