Prosecutor: the head of the bank was looking for “power” with loans from Manafort for $ 16 million | New York News

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LARRY NEIMEISTER, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – A Chicago bank owner has swapped $ 16 million in loans to former campaign manager for ex-President Donald Trump in a bid to secure a prestigious position in the Trump administration, the attorney told jurors in an opening statement Wednesday. them that the banker did not commit crimes.

“This is a case of greed, but not greed for money. Lust for power, prestige, importance, ”said Assistant US Attorney Alexandra Rothman shortly before pointing out Stephen Colk to a jury in Manhattan and describing her relationship with Paul Manafort, who led Trump’s presidential campaign five months ago.

She recalled election night 2016, saying that Kolk, the former chief executive of the Federal Savings Bank, wrote to Manafort after it became clear that Trump had won the election, promising a $ 9.5 million real estate loan that seemed to be stalled, if not dead, would be “wrapped up the next day.”

Kalk interviewed Trump Tower for an administration position for several weeks, Rothman said, and was looking forward to another $ 6.5 million for Manafort so he could complete the Brooklyn condominium and avoid foreclosures.

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According to the prosecutor, Manafort was viewed by Kalk as “his personal piggy bank to try to buy himself prestige and power.”

However, Rothman said Kolk was never given any position in the Trump administration that he put on his wishlist, including the head of the Treasury, Trade, or Defense. And he also didn’t get what he claimed was his “No. “I want to,” she added.

However, he gained media notoriety for his volunteer role on the Economic Advisory Council for Trump’s campaign, where he worked alongside other high-profile business leaders to advise Trump, she said.

In 2016, Manafort was kicked out of the Trump campaign due to his ties to Ukraine. An investigation by Special Adviser Robert Mueller in Russia led to him being prosecuted and sentenced to more than seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his political consultancy in Ukraine. Trump pardoned him in December.

Paul Schumann, Kolk’s lawyer, has called on the jury to question throughout the trial whether his client thinks everything he does is wrong.

“The answer is no,” he said.

Schumann said Manafort’s loans were unanimously approved by the bank’s credit committee and underwriters on terms that did not give Manafort any interest rate or commission relief and required more collateral than the loans were worth.

The defense attorney said that Kalk consulted with Manafort on how to get a position in the administration, just as he did with various military generals and other prominent people who, in his opinion, could provide good advice.

He said that Calc “didn’t think he was doing something corrupt because he thought he was getting great loans for his bank.”

At the time, Manafort seemed rich and successful and the “rock star in the world of politics” who, according to Schumann, advised former presidents during the days of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

According to the lawyer, Kalk was unaware that Manafort had provided the bank with false financial statements and “was not as rich or successful as he pretended to be.”

Schumann said Kalk was “thrilled” when Trump became president and would have been “thrilled and honored” to get a job that would allow him to support the troops because he had long run his bank in a way to help veterans after his honorary dismissal from office. captain of the army reserve.

The lawyer also warned the jury that it was not a matter of “party politics.”

“The name of Donald Trump will be announced during this trial. Some people like it. Some people don’t. But in this case, don’t let it affect you, ”he said. “Mr. Kalk did not commit a crime. He did not commit a corrupt deal. He is not guilty of these charges.”

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