Gates not ready for sentencing, filing says

Rick Gates, the former top deputy to onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, continues to cooperate with the government in “several ongoing investigations” and so is not ready for sentencing, according to a Friday court filing.

The request in Washington to delay sentencing was made jointly by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Gates’s attorney, Thomas C. Green.

“The status of this matter has not changed substantially since the January report, as defendant Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time,” they wrote in a one-page update for Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The investigations were not described.

The reference to Gates’s cooperation echoed language used in November and in January and asked for another 60 days — until May 14 — to deliver the next update on Gates’s standing.

The request to hold off on delivering Gates his sentence — he pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy and lying to the FBI — comes amid heightened speculation about whether the special counsel probe might be winding down in a week that saw Manafort receive a total of 7½ years in prison for his pair of federal cases growing out of the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Spencer S. Hsu

and Rachel Weiner

Ex-U.S. officer pleads guilty in espionage case

A former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer pleaded guilty to attempted espionage, the Justice Department said Friday.

The officer, Ron Rockwell Hansen, was accused of trying to transmit classified U.S. national defense information to China and receiving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” while illegally acting as an agent for the Chinese government.

Hansen started working at the DIA, which specializes in military intelligence, in 2006 after his retirement from the U.S. Army and held a top-secret security clearance for many years.

In 2014, a Chinese intelligence service recruited Hansen, the Justice Department said.

FBI agents took Hansen into custody in June, when he was traveling to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to take a connecting flight to China.

He faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing will take place on Sept. 24.

— Reuters

Brothers wanted in Ecuador are granted bond in immigration court

A U.S. immigration court in Miami granted bond Friday to two brothers from Ecuador wanted in the South American country on charges that they stole millions of dollars from a now-defunct bank.

William and Roberto Isaias had been detained pending deportation since Feb. 13, after their arrests in Miami by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their attorney, Michael Tein, said they would be released Friday.

It was not clear what had prompted their arrests. The U.S. government has rejected multiple requests by Ecuador’s government since 2001 to extradite the brothers.

In a 2013 diplomatic note denying extradition, the State Department said Ecuador had not provided evidence that the brothers had embezzled funds from Filanbanco. The Human Rights Commission of the United Nations determined in 2016 that Ecuador had violated the brothers’ right to due process, and it ordered the country to make reparations to them.

Filanbanco had been the largest bank in Ecuador, and its failure in the late 1990s contributed to an economic collapse. The brothers were charged with embezzlement, but they fled the country before they could be arrested.

— Associated Press