Paul Manafort on Trial – Day 10

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Said in earlier testimony to have helped Paul Manafort fraudulently secure loans, the next and potentially last witness slated to testify Monday is bank officer James Brennan.

On the stand last week, Federal Savings Bank senior vice president Dennis Raico told the jury that Brennan knowingly helped Manafort secure loans, even when it was evident that he lacked the assets to back them up.

Manafort’s control over the process was something he and other bank employees had never “seen [done] before,” Raico said.

At the Chicago-based bank, Brennan worked as a construction and commercial loan officer. Raico testified that he once urged Brennan in an email to “take a deep breath” before reviewing restructured terms for a $9.5 million loan that Manafort, their client, drew up himself.

The deal was being struck, Raico said, so that the bank’s chairman, Steve Calk, could land a spot inside the Trump administration, either as secretary of the Department of the Treasury or as secretary of the Army. Though Manafort resigned as chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign ahead of the election, his influence over the inaugural committee was addressed on the stand by Rick Gates, the government’s star witness.

In a brief this morning, prosecutors responded to a question by Judge Ellis about the materiality of any fraudulent representations that Manafort may have made to the Federal Savings Bank.

Ellis questioned specifically whether Calk’s intent to grant Manafort the loans in exchange for a spot in the Trump administration meant that Manafort could not have committed fraud.

Prosecutors say he could. “Even if Calk intended to approve Manafort’s loans for reasons relating to his personal interests, that would have no bearing on the materiality of Manafort’s false and fraudulent representations to the bank,” the brief states.

It is expected Brennan will testify on the nature of Manafort’s alleged tit-for-tat relationship with Calk, in addition to his role in the loan machinations. The witness is one of several whom Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team gave immunity to testify.