Dennis Raico, a loan officer at Federal Savings Bank, testified Friday that he acted as a go-between for his bank's founder and chairman Stephen Calk and Paul Manafort.
Raico testified that this took place as the bank rushed to approve loans while Calk sought upper-level perks in the Trump political operation.
Here's how the loan process worked out:
- Manafort secured his first loan from the bank for $9.5 million on Nov. 16, 2016, shortly after the presidential election.
- He secured a second loan from the bank for $6.5 million on Jan. 4, shortly before Trump's inauguration. But the loan application and approval processes started months earlier, while Manafort was still involved in the Trump campaign and eventually became its chair.
Manafort resigned from the position in August 2016, but remained in contact with his then-deputy Rick Gates who stayed with the campaign.
Calk had pushed to expedite and approve the loans for Manafort — who in 2016 was seeking money alongside his then-son-in-law Jeff Yohai — because he knew Manafort was involved in politics, Raico said.
Raico testified he offered the investigators information to build their case against Manafort in June 2017, and he is speaking with an immunity agreement today.
Manafort is accused of defrauding the bank for $16 million.
Prosecutors called Dennis Raico of Federal Savings Bank to the stand on Friday afternoon.
Raico was granted immunity for his testimony.
Why this matters: He is one of several witnesses who worked at Federal Savings Bank, the Chicago bank that gave Paul Manafort a loan. Manafort had recommended the bank’s CEO, Stephen Calk, for a senior position in the Trump administration after the election.
Prosecutors allege Calk was involved in having Federal Savings Bank extend a mortgage to Manafort in 2016 based on fraudulent financial details.
Calk was named to Trump's Economic Advisory Council in August 2016, and Manafort recommended him to his former deputy Rick Gates to be Army Secretary in November 2016, although he never received a position in the Trump administration.
Judge T.S. Ellis returned to the courtroom at 2:22 p.m.
After conferring with an attorney for the prosecutors and an attorney for the defense briefly, Ellis said:
That's when Andres reminded him the jury still needed to be brought in.
The courtroom erupted in laughter.
And about those secretive morning meetings? There's has been no word whatsoever about the reason for the almost all-day delay.
Thirty minutes after court was supposed to reconvene, Judge T.S. Ellis, prosecutors and many defense lawyers have still not returned to the courtroom.
Paul Manafort and two of his defense lawyers are still waiting the proceedings at the counsel's table.
The mystery of the morning has not been solved, and the court is now on break until 1:45 p.m. ET.
Lawyers from both sides huddled with Judge T.S. Ellis twice this morning. After almost an hour of waiting, lawyers from both sides Ellis returned to the courtroom at 11:07 a.m.
Ellis brought the 16 jurors in, stressed to them the importance of not discussing the case and told them to "keep an open mind." He also said the court plans to "continue with evidence" presentations in the afternoon today and that he would "expect to make progress."
Ellis then said the court would take an open lunch and reconvene at 1:45 p.m. ET. He gave no further detail about the morning's delay.
What this means for timing: It now seems quite unlikely that the prosecutors will finish presenting their case Friday, as they had previously said they would.
Friday morning has had a strange, secretive beginning.
Lawyers from both sides have huddled with Judge T.S. Ellis twice with the white noise machine obscuring their conversations.
The jury has not been called yet. Meanwhile, Manafort has been all smiles, and also spent several minutes in whispered conversation with his lawyers.
Prosecutors have for the second time during Paul Manafort's criminal trial asked Judge T.S. Ellis to correct a statement he made to the jury, according to a filing they made Friday morning.
This time, they're asking Ellis to tell the jury to disregard his comment Thursday during a witness' testimony about alleged bank fraud conspiracy that the attorneys "might want to spend time on a loan that was granted."
Ellis made the comment near the end of the day Thursday, as witness Taryn Rodriguez of Citizens Bank testified about a $5.5 million loan Manafort applied for using false statements to the bank but did not receive.
What prosecutors want: Prosecutors said the comment misrepresents the law regarding bank fraud conspiracy and is likely to confuse and mislead the jury.
They want Ellis to explain in court Friday "that the jury is not to consider the Court’s comment and that loans that Manafort fraudulently applied for but did not receive are relevant to the charges in the indictment."
This will be the second time in as many days they've asked for a correction. Yesterday, prosecutors asked Ellis correct the record for the jury about his agreement to let an expert witness from the IRS sit in the courtroom before he testified. Ellis told the jury he was "probably wrong." Transcripts from earlier in the trial show he clearly discussed with prosecutors the IRS witness observing the trial.
Court is back in session at 9:30 a.m. ET today.
What to expect: Prosecutors will call their final witnesses, and wrap up their case.
Prosecutors say they have four or five witnesses remaining, including two who were granted immunity for their testimony: Dennis Raico and James Brennan. Both worked at Federal Savings Bank, which gave Manafort a mortgage that prosecutors say was based on fraudulent documents and whose CEO, Stephen Calk, Manafort recommended for Army secretary.
The eighth day of Paul Manafort's trial has wrapped up. Here's what you might have missed:
- The witnesses: Mortgage assistant Melinda James, Airbnb employee Darin Evenson, Citizens Bank manager Peggy Miceli, Taryn Rodriguez with Citizens Bank and banker Gary Seferian.
- The judge: Judge T.S. Ellis told the jury he was wrong in criticizing prosecutors yesterday for having one of their witnesses, an expert IRS agent, in the room to hear other witness testimony.
- What the mortgage assistant said: James testified on how Manafort, his former deputy Rick Gates and their accountant, Cindy Laporta, misled her bank, Citizens Bank. The three did so when they secured a $3.4 million mortgage loan in March 2016.
- What the loan officer assistant at Citizens Bank said: Taryn Rodriguez testified about a $5.5 million dollar loan that Manafort applied for on his Union Street property. Manafort did not ultimately receive the loan from Citizens Bank.
- What the indictment alleges: The indictment alleges that as part of the loan application process, Manafort submitted a false statement to the bank about his assets and liabilities, and that a fake profit and loss statement for his company was submitted on Manafort's behalf.
- Testimony resumes: Prosecutors will call their final witnesses tomorrow. The trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. ET.