ALEXANDRIA, VA — During Rick Gates’ testimony in Paul Manafort’s financial crimes trial Tuesday, prosecutors questioned Gates about an email Manafort sent on Nov. 24, 2016 regarding Steve Calk, the executive of a bank where Manafort was seeking loans.
“Rick, we need to discuss Steve Calk for sec. of army. I hear the list is being considered this weekend,” the email said.
Gates had stayed on the Trump campaign after Manafort left in August, and, at the time of the email, was working for the inauguration committee. Another email sent by Manafort to Gates on Dec. 23, 2016 was an invitation list for the inauguration. Steve Calk and Steve Calk Jr. were on the list.
Gates testified that Manafort was asking for tickets to the inauguration for Steve Calk.
Calk was a Trump campaign economic advisor and an executive at the Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank. The bank lent Manafort $16 million through loans in December 2016 and January 2017. A search warrant that was partially unsealed earlier this summer alleged that Manafort made “several materially inconsistent representations during the process of negotiating.”
Mueller’s team alleges that Calk knew the loan was fraudulent. During a pretreial hearing, Judge T.S. Ellis asked prosecutor Greg Andres whether Calk knew the information on Manafort’s loan application was inaccurate. “He did,” Andres replied at the time.
Calk was named to Trump’s economic advisory team in August 2016, while Manafort was still chairman of the Trump campaign. He did not ultimately receive a job in the administration.
This line of questioning was the only time so far that Manafort and Gates’ work for the Trump campaign was referenced explicitly. Another email discussed Steve Calk being nominated for the campaign’s economic committee.
Manafort is on trial here facing bank and tax fraud charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Gates was Manafort’s right-hand man during the pair’s lobbying work in Ukraine, and his deputy on the Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller originally charged Gates alongside Manafort, but Gates reached a plea deal with Mueller in exchange for cooperating in the investigation.