Lawyers suspect Bart Reagor trial jury has been compromised

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Bart Reagor’s attorneys ask federal court for permission to question jurors they believed to be compromised when they delivered a verdict finding their client guilty of cheating a bank into granting him a business loan he used to his personal advantage.

Reagor, who faces up to 30 years in prison, was convicted on October 15 of having made a false declaration to a bank but not guilty of two counts of bank fraud. He remains on bail while he awaits his sentencing hearing, which was set on February 24.

The verdict came after a five-day trial in federal court in Amarillo. The jury was questioned after the verdict was read and each juror said the verdict was unanimous.

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Jurors believed Reagor, the founder and CEO of Reagor-Dykes Auto Group, made a false statement to representatives of the International Bank of Commerce when he requested a $ 10 million working capital loan which they claimed , would go to his business.

Federal prosecutors presented jurors with an email Reagor sent to his CFO, Shane Smith, which they said showed his intention to take some of that money for his own benefit.

Bankers testified that the loan would not have been approved if they had known Reagor was going to use the money for his personal benefit.

In total, Reagor deposited around $ 1.7 million of the loan into his personal bank account.

Defense attorneys argued that the contract between RDAG and IBC allowed Reagor to deposit the loan money into his personal account, claiming he was repaying himself the money he had invested in the company.

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Federal prosecutors have argued that there should never have been a contract initially, since Reagor obtained it by hiding his real plan for the working capital loan from the bankers.

Jurors spent two days in deliberation, during which jurors requested a transcript of the entire trial and released three memos telling the court they were deadlocked. The final note stated: “We are still in a dead end (sic) with no deal. We have gone through all the evidence. All the jurors say they won’t reconsider their vote. “

The latter note prompted Reagor’s attorney to seek an annulment of the trial, which the court refused and instead issued an additional instruction, known as the Allen Charge, despite the objection by attorney for the defense to ask jurors to reconsider their positions.

About half an hour later, jurors returned their verdict finding Reagor guilty on one count.

Reagor’s attorney Dan Cogdell wrote in his motion filed Monday that he believed the verdict was in jeopardy, saying if jurors found him guilty of lying to the bank, it made “sense” that they also found him guilty on the two bank fraud charges, which detail the two withdrawals made by Reagor that were the bank fraud charges.

Cogdell’s motion states that the sequence of events leading up to the jury’s verdict suggests “the possibility of foreign prejudicial information brought to the jury’s attention or of outside influence improperly exerted on those jurors.”

The government has not yet tabled a response to the motion.


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