Scaramucci to Relive Trump Transition at Manafort Banker Trial

Anthony Scaramucci, the Skybridge Capital founder who famously spent 11 days as former President Donald Trump’s communications director, will be a key prosecution witness at the trial of a Chicago banker accused of paying bribes to win a high-level job in the administration.

Scaramucci will take the stand in a case against Stephen Calk, who is accused of green-lighting $16 million in sweetheart loans to former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort in exchange for a cabinet post or ambassadorship. Scaramucci is expected to testify “that Manafort asked him to get Calk an interview for the position of Secretary of the Army, and that he complied with the request despite believing that Calk was not qualified,” according to a court filing by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The testimony may shed light on the early days of the Trump administration, including the struggles to staff the White House and top levels of the U.S. government following his surprising victory over Hillary Clinton. Scaramucci, known as “The Mooch,” worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and his transition team before breaking with the president.

Calk denies wrongdoing.

The founder and longtime chief executive of Federal Savings Bank, Calk never won a post in the Trump administration. But prosecutors said in court filings that they have a torrent of emails and text messages among Scaramucci, Manafort and Calk that prove the bribery conspiracy.

19 Ambassadorships

In one, prosecutors said, Calk sent a document to Manafort with the misspelled title “Stephen M. Calk Perspective Rolls in the Administration,” ranking the jobs he was interested in, including secretary of Treasury, Defense or Commerce. He also suggested 19 ambassadorships he might like, with the U.K. and France at the top of the list.

“Would he take under secretary of the Army? Are we double sure?” Scaramucci allegedly asked Manafort in a December 2016 text. “If so, I think we can get it done.”

Minutes after receiving the text, Manafort called Calk, talking with him for more than 11 minutes about the administration role but also a $6.5 million loan, prosecutors said. “Yes he will def take it,” Manafort texted Scaramucci after the call.

Calk was later interviewed for Army under secretary.

“By telling Scaramucci that Calk would accept the position of under secretary of the Army, Manafort was holding up his end of the bargain, and thus furthering the conspiracy, by getting Calk an interview for the position he wanted,” prosecutors said.

Short-Lived Tenure

Manafort, who is not expected to testify, was pardoned by Trump last year after serving part of a 7 1/2 year sentence for lying to tax authorities about his earnings as a consultant in Ukraine and falsely inflating his finances to land bank loans. Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Manafort, declined comment.

Scaramucci didn’t respond to calls, texts and emails seeking comment on his role in the Calk trial.

Scaramucci’s own tenure in the Trump administration was short-lived. Named White House communications director in July 2017, he was fired less than two weeks later, after a reporter for The New Yorker released a recording of profanity-laced phone call in which Scaramucci trashed then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, top aide Steve Bannon and others in the White House.

In addition to Scaramucci, prosecutors say they will call several current and former Federal Savings Bank employees who worked on the loans and were granted immunity for their testimony.

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