The trial has begun for a Chicago bank owner who prosecutors said exchanged $16 million in loans with former President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE's 2016 campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report MORE in an effort to buy a role in the Trump administration.
Stephen Calk, the former chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank, stood trial on Wednesday as Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Rothman detailed Calk’s deals with Manafort, the former head Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, in an effort to get a position in the administration, The Associated Press reported.
“This is a case about greed, but not greed for money. Greed for power, for prestige, for importance,” Rothman said.
Calk was charged in 2019 with one count of financial institution bribery for allegedly giving Manafort risky loans in exchange for a job in the Trump administration. Calk could face a maximum of 30 years in prison if found guilty.
Prosecutors said Calk messaged Manafort after it was clear Trump would win in 2016 saying a $9.5 million real estate construction loan that had been stalled would be “wrapped up the next day,” AP reported.
Rothman said weeks later, Calk was floating another $6.5 million loan to Manafort while he was being interviewed at Trump Tower following the election for a job in the administration.
Calk was looking for a position as either the Secretary of the Army or head of the Treasury, Commerce or Defense departments, according to Rothman. Calk was ultimately not chosen for any of those jobs.
Calk’s lawyer, Paul Schoeman, argued Calk believed he did not do anything wrong and he thought he was just getting “great loans for his bank.”
Although the loans were risky, Schoeman argued Calk was given false documents that indicated Manafort was much wealthier than he really was, making him believe the loans were good for the bank.
“The name Donald Trump is going to come up during this trial. Some people like him. Some people don’t. But don’t let it influence you in this case,” Schoeman said. “Mr. Calk did not commit a crime. He did not make a corrupt deal. He is not guilty of these charges.”
In total, Calk granted $16 million in loans to Manafort, who was later ousted by the Trump campaign over his ties to Ukraine. Manafort was sentenced to seven years in prison over his political work in Ukraine. Trump ultimately pardoned Manafort less than one month before leaving office.