New York, NY - A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to a financial institution bribery charge as his lawyer said he’s done nothing wrong.
Stephen M. Calk, 54, was released on $5 million bail after making a brief appearance in Manhattan federal court.
Calk, who lives in Chicago where The Federal Savings Bank is headquartered, was told by Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman to have no contact with bank employees except for his brother until prosecutors next week submit a list of individuals he cannot communicate with.
The small bank where Calk was CEO when he allegedly carried out the scheme said in a statement that Calk already had no involvement with the bank and is on a leave of absence.
In a statement, Calk attorney Jeremy Margolis said Calk will be exonerated on the “baseless isolated charge.”
He called the arrest a “travesty.”
He said the bank his client founded and Calk were “victims of Mr. Manafort’s ongoing fraud.
Mr. Calk did not commit any offense with him.”
Another defense lawyer, Daniel Stein, said outside court: “These loans were simply not a bribe for anything.”