WASHINGTON — Newly unsealed emails are shedding more light on behind-the-scenes discussions that led lawyers for former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates to withdraw from his case.

The emails, between prosecutors and an attorney for Gates, were made public by a judge Tuesday after The Associated Press and other news organizations sued for their release.

The correspondence, from late January, took place just days before Gates lied to the FBI during an interview and weeks before he pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. Gates is now awaiting sentencing.

In one message, Shanlon Wu, a former lawyer for Gates, told two attorneys on Mueller's team that they had been meeting behind his back with a different lawyer. Wu complained that the prosecutors had refused to disclose to him the substance of the meetings or discuss with him the terms of the plea offer they were negotiating with Gates's new attorney, Thomas Green.

The prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann and Greg Andres, responded the next day by saying they were simply dealing with Gates's chosen lawyer and they had no interest in being intermediaries between Gates and his defense attorneys.

"We advised both your client and Mr. Green that we are happy to deal with any counsel of Mr. Gates' choice and expressed no preference other than following his selection," the prosecutors wrote.

Wu did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Green said the emails unsealed Tuesday were "much ado about nothing."

Gates, a longtime protege of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to the FBI.

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Read the emails: http://apne.ws/9fJcpn0