US to rest its case against Paul Manafort with Chicago bank
Paul Manafort (mug shot)

U.S. prosecutors plan to wrap up a case on Friday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, with jurors expected to hear about his dangling a Trump administration job to the chief executive of a Chicago bank that gave him $16 million in loans.

Greg Andres, a lawyer on U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, said in court he planned to call the prosecution’s final four witnesses, three of them current or former employees of the Federal Savings Bank.

Manafort faces 18 felony counts, four of them involving the $16 million of loans prosecutors say were extended by Federal in late 2016 and early 2017, thanks to a quid pro with its bank’s chief executive, Stephen Calk.

Federal and Calk, who was named an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016, did not respond to requests for comment.

Manafort emailed his long-time associate, Rick Gates, in late 2016 asking for the incoming Trump administration to consider tapping Calk for Secretary of the Army, Gates testified this week.

Gates, the deputy chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, who also worked on his campaign, was indicted along with Manafort, but pleaded guilty and has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

James Brennan, a vice president at Federal, and Dennis Raico, a former executive, are set to testify on Friday, Andres said. Both Brennan and Raico were granted immunity against prosecution before testifying.

Andrew Chojnowski, whose Linkedin profile describes him as chief operating officer of home lending at Federal, is also on the witness list.

In addition, prosecutors are expected to call Irfan Kirimca, senior director of ticket operations at the Yankees, to testify about payments for Manafort’s season tickets for the baseball team.

On the stand this week, Gates said Manafort asked if he would “do him a favor” and sign a letter that attributed the cost of the tickets to him. The box seats cost between $210,000 to $225,000 a year, Gates said.

Manafort was applying for loans at the time and witnesses have testified that he tried to represent lower debt and higher income in order to get loans.

T.S. Ellis, the judge overseeing the case, also said he may hold a conference with the lawyers on Friday about instructions to be given to jurors before their deliberations, likely to start next week.

Reporting by Nathan Layne and Karen Freifeld in Alexandria, Virginia; Editing by Clarence Fernandez