A Chicago banker “hungry for power” traded $16 million in bank loans to Paul Manafort for the chance at a top Trump administration post, a prosecutor told jurors at the end of a federal bribery trial in Manhattan.
Stephen Calk wanted to be former President Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, defense secretary or a top ambassador and approved the loans to Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chief, with that goal in mind, federal prosecutor Paul Monteleoni said in closing arguments on Monday.
“Calk was the one with the money,” Monteleoni said. “What Manafort offered to Calk was the chance to use some of that money to buy power.”
The founder and longtime chief executive of Federal Savings Bank, Calk is charged with financial institution bribery and with conspiring with Manafort, who was “desperate for money,” Monteleoni said.
Calk denies the charges and blames Manafort for lying about his finances to win the loans. The defense will give its closing argument later on Monday, and the jury could begin deliberations by day’s end.
The banker never landed a high-level administration job. Manafort succeeded in getting him an interview for undersecretary of the Army, but Calk wasn’t selected for the post.
Among the witnesses against Calk was Anthony Scaramucci, the Skybridge Capital founder who worked on the Trump transition team and later spent 11 days as White House communications director. Scaramucci told jurors he helped get Calk the interview for the Army job as a favor to Manafort but said he knew nothing about the loans and that he wouldn’t have helped Calk if he had.
Monteleoni told jurors that Calk was involved in the Manafort loans to an unusual degree and that bank employees reviewing them recommended against lending to Manafort.
“Calk was deep in the weeds on this loan,” Monteleoni said. “Calk was meeting with Manafort and telling the loan officer what was going on with the loan, not the other way around.”
The case is U.S. v. Calk, 19-cr-00366, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).