Chicago banker Stephen Calk seeking mercy from federal judge in bribery case

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In good times, when Stephen Calk was CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, he was on the good side of then presidential candidate Donald Trump. Now, Calk is on the cusp of learning how far his fall from those glory days will be. By this time on Monday he should know whether a judge will point him to federal prison for bribery and conspiracy with one of Trump's top men.

As his trial started last summer, Calk told us he just wanted the truth.

He was convicted, and now 72 hours away from sentencing, he just wants mercy from a federal judge who will decide whether to send him to jail.

He is the founder and was the CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, headquartered in the Fulton Market neighborhood.

In July, a jury found Calk handed $16 million in unsound bank loans to 2016 Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in exchange for a power seat in the Trump administration; perhaps Secretary of Defense or an ambassadorship.

There is a huge gap in what the government wants for Calk's punishment and what Calk is asking for.

Prosecutors in New York, where the case went to court, say he should spend at least four years behind bars, and maybe five or more. At a sentencing hearing late Monday afternoon, prosecutors will say Call "corruptly abused" his power as bank boss, pushing millions in loans to Paul Manafort to gain his endorsement for a top Trump White House job.

For a short time Calk was on Trump's campaign economic committee.

Calk's attorneys, including Chicago lawyer Jeremy Margolis, are prepared to ask for probation; no jail time; and will argue the ex-Chicago banker has led a decent and law abiding life. They believe the government has grossly overstated the Calk-to-Manafort loan arrangement and contend there was no quid pro quo for a political post.

Manafort went to prison for other financial crimes, but was freed when President Trump pardoned him before leaving office. Calk however received no such consideration or help from the former president. On Monday, he will learn what his immediate future holds. It is expected Calk will appeal the conviction and this case could be in the legal system for months, if not years.
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