AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — After a nearly nine hour day consisting solely of jury selection, the jury for the ongoing Bart Reagor trial is now set, with opening statements expected to begin Tuesday (Oct. 12).
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Monday served as the start of Reagor’s jury trial after he pleaded 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.
A jury of 12, and two alternates, were selected early Monday evening after hours of deliberation and of questioning by U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, the federal judge overseeing Reagor’s trial, as well as representatives from the prosecution and the defense.
Out of more than 80 potential jury members from the top 26 counties out of the Texas Panhandle, the following numbers were chosen, all of which did not have previous jury experience, according to the voir dire proceedings:
- 68 (alternate)
- 72 (alternate)
Before lunch, jurors were questioned by Kacsmaryk regarding numerous topics, including relationships with individuals involved in the case as well as their exposure to “pre-trial publicity.”
The topic of “pre-trial publicity” also came up during the afternoon questioning portion of the jury, with the prosecution asking numerous potential jurors if the news coverage could have any impact on their personal verdict of the case. The defense also focused on the media, asking the group about their trust of the media in general.
During the jury selection process, numerous potential jurors were relieved of their duties from numerous reasons, including various hardships, the exposure to “pre-trial publicity” as well as their opinions on law enforcement and a potential of giving them a higher level credibility as a witness than other witnesses in the case.
Numerous jurors were also relieved of their duties after stating their opinion on the burden of proof. Lawyers for the defense stressed numerous times that it is the Government’s job as the prosecution to prove Reagor’s guilt, not being required to say anything throughout the criminal proceedings. Many jurors expressed their want to see “both sides” of the story.
After the jury was set, Kacsmaryk stressed that he aims to run the trial based on the facts of the indictment, not referencing the other schemes other cases have focused on, including the check kiting and floor plan fraud schemes.
Kacsmaryk said to both the prosecution and the defense that this case should not be one where “the government tries a case of guilty by association or where the defense tries a case of not guilty by association.”
The second day of Reagor’s trial is expected to begin with opening statements at 8 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 12.) According to previous reports, officials expect the trial to go through the end of the week, with the prosecution and the defense each having 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.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates