Stephen Calk, former chairman and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, is on trial in Manhattan for allegedly gaining $ 16 million in risky bank loans for Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, in 2016 and 2017 while dealing with Manafort conspired to get a high ranking in the Trump administration.
Scaramucci testified that Manafort asked him to interview Calk for the position of Army Secretary during the transition after Trump was elected President in 2016.
At the time, Scaramucci was on the self-proclaimed “Tiger Team” with Jared Kushner and other Trump Inner Circle advisors who oversaw interviews for undersecretary and assistant secretary positions across the administration.
“The Mooch” said Thursday that he did not know Calk, but it was not uncommon for people to contact him with recruiting recommendations.
Although Manafort had formally taken leave of Trump’s employees, Scaramucci said they were on good terms and that he wanted to “be helpful” to Manafort when he pushed Calk and another friend for administrative positions.
Scaramucci testified that Manafort called Calk “a friend of his” who “worked on the campaign and was an early supporter of the president-elect” but never mentioned the bank loans he received from Calk.
Had he known that dynamic, Scaramucci testified, he would not have helped Calk to an interview.
The defense attorney argued Wednesday during opening statements that Calk did not know he was granting $ 16 million in loans to Manafort and said it was Manafort who committed fraud by lying about his fortune get the loans approved.
“This is not a bargain,” said Calks attorney Paul Schoeman.
Schoeman acknowledged that Calk “absolutely” sought advice and help from Manafort in order to get a government position because, as a former Army Reserve member, he “really loves the military” and wanted to serve the country.
But the only role Calk got was an unpaid position during Trump’s campaign on his economic advisory board, Schoeman said.
Scaramucci, who also worked on the Trump campaign, said the advisory role is a glorious fundraising mandate to get large donors to encourage their wealthy friends to donate to Trump’s cause.
Scaramucci said he corresponded with Calk about several potential roles he might be interested in, as Vincent Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers, was already designated as Secretary of the Army at the time.
The jury was shown text messages from Manafort and Calk several times between November 2016 and January 2017 investigating Scaramucci about the interview process.
Calk eventually received an interview at Trump Tower for the Undersecretary of the Army, but was neither offered nor accepted a position within the Trump administration.
Scaramucci will testify in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday morning if the trial continues.
He declined to comment when he left the courthouse on Thursday. “That’s unusual for me, isn’t it? Nothing to say,” Scaramucci told reporters.
Anna Ivakhnik, a former employee of the Bundessparkasse, testified earlier in the day about her concerns at the time about the loan application and Manafort’s financial situation before leaving the company in September 2016.
Kory Langhofer, senior attorney for the Trump transition team, briefly testified Thursday about retained emails from the team that were filed as evidence in the case.
The alleged “consideration” between Calk and Manafort came up at Manafort’s trial in Virginia in 2018.
Manafort was found guilty of eight financial fraud cases, but the jury was bogged down on the four bank fraud cases and the conspiracy related to the fraudulent loans he received from Calks Bank. Months later, Manafort pleaded guilty in separate federal proceedings in Washington, DC, and admitted all conduct alleged in the Virginia Trial, including conspiring with Calk to commit bank fraud.