Bart Reagor’s defense seeks to question jury on ‘outside influence’
AMARILLO, Texas (KCBD) - Bart Reagor’s defense attorneys want to interview the federal jury which convicted him. They claim there is evidence of external influence on its decisions.
Two weeks ago, the panel found Reagor guilty of lying to a bank, but not guilty of bank fraud.
“Clearly, had Reagor been actually guilty of submitting a false statement to a financial institution, the bank fraud convictions would have logically followed,” said attorneys in the federal motion to interview jurors post-verdict.
In the motion, attorneys point to how the jury repeatedly told the court it couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.
“The jury first stated it was “deadlocked” on the afternoon of October 14th. After being admonished to continue deliberations, it sent another note stating, “[t]here is no way we can be unanimous” and requesting to be dismissed for the evening. The Court dismissed the jury with instructions to return the next morning (October 15th, 2021) at 10 am. Not long after returning to deliberation on October 15th, the jury submitted another note, requesting “court transcripts” of the trial proceedings. The final, pre-Allen charge note stated, “We are still deadlock [sic] with no agreement. We have been through all evidence. All jurors say they will not reconsider their vote.” Due to the above sequence, the defendant moved for a mistrial, which the Court denied. Instead, the Court responded to this note with a modified Allen charge, and the jury predictably returned a guilty verdict shortly thereafter. Notably, the verdicts are factually irreconcilable, the jury determining that while the Defendant was guilty of submitting a false statement to a financial institution, he was not guilty of bank fraud.”
The jury convicted Reagor of lying to a bank when the judge gave the jury a modified Allen Charge so there wouldn’t be a mistrial. A modified Allen Charge is an instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict.
The attorneys say this shows there was some kind of prejudicial information brought to the jury’s attention before they convicted the former auto dealer.
“Mr. Reagor’s case raises a serious question as to whether an outside influence was improperly brought to bear on this jury,” says attorneys in the federal motion to interview jurors post-verdict.
The jury reached a unanimous decision of not guilty of two counts of bank fraud, but guilty of making a false statement to the International Bank of Commerce about his intentions of using $1.7 million of a $10 million loan from IBC to Reagor-Dykes Auto Group.
On that charge, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk will make that decision during the sentencing hearing. His sentencing has been set for February 24, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.
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