Robert Mueller’s team is requesting a special hearing in its case against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates due to a potential conflict posed by a lawyer who represents both Gates and a movie producer in a separate New York fraud case.
Gates and the producer, Steven J. Brown, share “multiple financial and business interests,” according to the motion filed by Mueller. As first reported by McClatchy, the two have worked together on several films including this year’s Walk of Fame, starring Clint Eastwood’s son Scott. Brown and two other men are accused of defrauding would-be film investors of more than $12 million.
Mueller’s team says that Gates and Brown are business partners in at least two entities, one of which is believed to be connected to film production work — and that Gates failed to disclose the shared entities in the personal financial disclosure he submitted to the federal government, something that could prove problematic for him.
What prompted the call for a special hearing, though, is that the two share the same lawyer – Walter S. Mack. Mueller wants to determine whether Gates is aware of the potential risks of such an arrangement.
“It is at least possible that Gates or Brown could become a witness for the government,” the filing reads, “or that information Mr. Mack learned from Brown or Gates could be relevant to the defense of the other.” Federal prosecutors in the New York case filed a similar motion today.