LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press
NEW YORK – A Manhattan jury on Tuesday convicted a Chicago banker for allowing Paul Manafort to get $ 16 million in loans before ex-President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager helped him get an interview for a job in the Trump administration.
The jury returned its verdict in federal court after less than two hours of deliberation, convicting Stephen Calk of financial institution bribery and conspiracy. Calk’s lawyers had maintained that their client had done nothing illegal in the weeks following Trump’s victory in the November 2016 presidential election.
But prosecutors said Calk paved the way for Manafort to receive loans he was not entitled to in hopes Calk could secure a high-level job with the Trump administration. Although Calk eventually got an interview at Trump Tower, he was not hired.
The sentence was set for Jan. 10 for Calk, who was the former managing director of the Federal Savings Bank.
As Calk left the courthouse, he declined to comment. His lawyer, Paul Schoeman, later released a statement, saying: âWe are very disappointed with the verdict and will pursue all available legal remedies, including an appeal.
In a statement, US lawyer Audrey Strauss said Calk used his federally insured bank to try to buy himself “prestige and power.”
During the three-week trial, prosecutors proved to jurors that Calk played a pivotal role in approving a $ 9.5 million and an additional $ 6.5 million real estate construction loan in order to that Manafort can complete construction of a condominium in Brooklyn and avoid foreclosure.
Defense attorneys argued that Calk could not get approval for the loans without the bank’s loan committee and underwriters agreeing to the terms. And they noted that the loans were obtained at a time when Manafort was considered wealthy and prosperous and had yet to be criminally charged.
At the start of the trial, Anthony Scaramucci said he would never have allowed Calk to get the interview for the administrative job had he known Calk was helping Manafort get millions of dollars in loans for his real estate projects. .
Scaramucci had testified that Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager for a key period from June to early August 2016, contacted him in mid-December 2016 to encourage him to consider Calk for an important position.
At the time, Scaramucci was working on Trump’s presidential transition team.
Although Calk had hoped to become Secretary of the Army, he was eventually interviewed for other positions as that position had already been filled, Scaramucci said.
Manafort has lost his position in Trump’s campaign on his ties to Ukraine. Special Advocate Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia led to his criminal conviction and more than seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. In December, Trump pardoned him.
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