AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As Bart Reagor walked into Amarillo Federal Court with his team Monday morning, he greeted them by saying it was a “big day.”
Monday served as the start of Reagor’s jury trial, coming after Reagor appeared in federal court in April, pleading not guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of making false statements to a bank. This comes after Ford Motor Credit filed a lawsuit against the auto group in July 2018 with accusations of floor plan fraud. Various banks also accused the auto group of check-kiting practices.
During the first part of Monday’s proceedings, Reagor did speak to the court, acknowledging his presence to the U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, the federal judge overseeing Reagor’s trial, when asked.
The first part of the first day of the trial consisted of jury selection. Kacsmaryk questioned more than 80 potential jury members from the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle on various topics.
The topics Kacsmaryk questioned the jurors on included potential personal relationships the jurors had with individuals on the prosecution as well as the defense, including Reagor himself as well as the list of potential witnesses in the case, including former Chief Financial Officer Shane Smith, Steven Reinhart, the auto group’s legal compliance director and co-owner Rick Dykes.
During the line of questioning, nearly 20 jurors spoke about their exposure to “pre-trial publicity” through various forms of news articles, web searches, and social media. Multiple jurors also spoke about their familial history with members of law enforcement and if they knew anyone who had been convicted of a crime themselves.
Kacsmaryk also outlined the potential duration of this trial, stating that he expects the trial to go through the end of the week. The prosecution and the defense will each have eight hours to present their sides of the case, with a maximum two-hour extension on each side. The expectation is for the court to last from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the end of the week.
Officials outlined that the prosecution is expected to present their portion of the case first, with the defense team presenting their portion of the case next. Officials stated that they hope to have the jury meet for a verdict at the end of the week.
This afternoon, attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense will be given 20 minutes to ask questions of potential jurors. Then, a jury of 12 individuals, with two alternates, will be chosen.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates