At a court appearance Monday in Manhattan, Gates' lawyer, Walter Mack, said federal prosecutors have told him that more charges could be filed, called alternate charges.
"We do not know what the government is going to do," Mack said in court, referring to both Gates 'case and a white-collar case in New York involving one of Gates' business partners. "I mean, in both cases we have been told there may be a substitute, we do not know what is happening."
Mueller accused former president of the campaign of President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and his deputy, Gates, on October 30 with 12 alleged crimes related to money laundering and foreign lobbying infractions. Both have declared themselves innocent. The charges against Manafort and Gates are not related to the Trump campaign, although Mueller may be able to add additional federal charges.
Mack represents both Gates in DC and his business partner in New York. Nor is he a witness or co-defendant in the other's case, say federal prosecutors, but the lawyers for Mueller's special lawyer's investigation have raised the possibility of a conflict of interest between the two men and their lawyer.
The accusations came almost six months after Mueller took over the federal investigation into the Russian collusion, so far the charges are not directly related to the work of Manafort and Gates for the Trump campaign or Russian foreign policy.
This week, lawyers working for Mueller revealed that Manafort was writing an opinion piece about Ukraine with a Russian as recently as last Thursday. It is not clear how the researchers found this new information, since the opinion article was never published. Prosecutors have presented it to the court under seal.
The revelation of the ghost writing puts a bail agreement proposed for Manafort in question. He and Gates are currently under house arrest and GPS monitoring and are subject to an unsecured bonus of $ 10 million and $ 5 million, respectively. Federal prosecutors argue that both are flight risks.
Manafort lawyers are expected to respond to the editorial indictment by Thursday, and both Manafort and Gates will appear in court on December 11.
It is not unusual for federal prosecutors to accuse defendants in white-collar cases once part of their investigation is completed, then submit additional charges later. Typically, a second round of charges may be filed if prosecutors have more work to do in certain aspects of the investigation or if they try to persuade a defendant of a plea agreement or cooperation in a wider investigation.
Two objectives in Mueller's investigation, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, have already pleaded guilty to charges of lying to investigators.
The other case in which Gates' attorney is working involves three defendants who allegedly took part in a scheme to defraud feature films and investor documentaries. Mack's client, Steven Brown, pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a trial in March.
Gates was a partner in one of the companies trapped in those positions. Gates is not accused of evil in the case of New York.
The New York judge verified at a hearing on Monday that Brown understood the possibility of a conflict of interest and chose to keep Mack as his lawyer.
Mack declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the special attorney's office.
The judge in Gates' case in DC ordered the lawyers involved not to make comments that could influence public perception of Gates and Manafort, and not to share documents outside of official court proceedings. Mack mentioned those restrictions in his court appearance in New York on Monday and qualified them and the prosecutors' ability to bring new information about Gates, such as his connection to Brown, "unfair."