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Prosecutors want 4 years for Chicago banker

NEW YORK (A P) — A Chicago banker should spend at least four years in prison after he was convicted of delivering $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort in a bid for power in the administration of ex-President Donald Trump, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Stephen Calk is set to be sentenced Feb. 7 for his conviction in July on financial institution bribery and conspiracy charges in Manhattan federal court.

Calk’s lawyers in a sentencing submission in early December argued for a non- custodial sentence for Calk, saying he has led a “thoroughly decent and law-abiding life.”

But prosecutors said Calk deserved a sentence of 51 months to 63 months in prison because he “corruptly abused” his position as chair- man and chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank and caused the bank to make $16 million in unsound loans to Manafort in exchange for Manafort’s help gaining political power.

They added: “The Government respectfully submits that the focus of sentencing should rest on his crimes, which would merit serious punishment regardless of the defendant’s character. But it is also true that the defendant exaggerates his claimed good deeds and sterling character.”

During a three-week trial, prosecutors said Calk played a pivotal role in getting ap- proval for a $9.5 million real estate construction loan and another $6.5 million loan so Manafort could finish con- struction on a Brooklyn con- dominium and avoid foreclo- sure.

Defense lawyers argued that Calk could not have won

approval for the loans with- out the bank’s loan commit- tee and underwriters agreeing to the terms. And they noted that the loans were obtained at a time when Manafort was considered wealthy and suc- cessful and had not yet been criminally charged.

Manafort served as Trump’s campaign manager for a key stretch from June to early Au- gust 2016.

Manafort lost his position in Trump’s campaign over his ties to Ukraine. Special coun- sel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation led to his crimi- nal conviction and a sentence of over seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his political consulting work in Ukraine. In December 2020, Trump pardoned him.

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