Arguments for prosecution, defense completed on day three of Reagor trial

State & Regional

Bart Reagor in court, Oct. 3, 2019 (Nexstar/Staff)

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — After the prosecution rested its portion of the case at around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the defense took only 87 minutes to present its portion in the Bart Reagor jury trial Wednesday afternoon, which served as the third day of the trial. 

After presenting three witnesses, which consisted of two expert witnesses and one fact witness, the defense rested its case at 2:50 p.m. with Dan Cogdell, a member of the defense counsel, stating that it was on presumption of Reagor’s innocence. After the defense rested its case, both the prosecution and defense officially closed the case, opening the door for closing arguments to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday. 

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Reagor is facing two counts of bank fraud and one count of making false statements to a bank. Reagor pleaded not guilty to the counts in an Amarillo Federal Court appearance in April. The government is claiming that Reagor committed these crimes transferring a portion of a $10 million working capital loan from the International Bank of Commerce (IBC) aimed at helping the growth of the Reagor Dykes Auto Group (RDAG) to his personal bank account for personal use. 

On Wednesday morning, the prosecution wrapped up its case Wednesday morning, bringing forward three witnesses including Steven Reinhart, the Reagor Dykes Auto Group’s former legal compliance director, John Whitworth, the former FBI special agent who was the lead case agent in the Reagor Dykes Auto Group investigation, and Steven Dawson, a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner.

On Wednesday afternoon, the defense presented three total witnesses, two of which served as expert witnesses in the case: 

  • Franklin Snyder, an expert witness in contract law who is a professor of law at the Texas A&M University School of Law; 
  • Steven Fried, an expert witness who was a 33-year veteran in the banking industry; 
  • Charles Darter, a certified public accountant out of Lubbock who has served as Reagor’s personal accountant, as well as RDAG’s accountant. 

Defense’s Witnesses

As the defense’s first expert witness, Snyder said based on reviewing all the evidence, including the loan agreement as well as the testimony of the fact witnesses on the prosecution’s side, he believes that Reagor’s conduct was based on the terms of the loan agreement. 

While other witnesses testified that there was no definition of working capital within the agreement, Snyder argued there was, through the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP. Snyder said that working capital consists of subtracting the company’s current liabilities from current assets. 

Snyder also said that once the loan money comes to the company, per the loan agreement, they can use it for any business purpose of the company, including paying Reagor and Dykes for their previous investment of personal funds into the company. He stressed that this kind of distribution was a standard way these funds could be used. 

During the questioning by the prosecution, officials asked Snyder for some clarity between the difference of fraud from breach of contract, stating that fraud consists of a false statement with intent to deceit. Based on their lines of questioning, Snyder also said that while he did not give advice to Reagor in this decision, he would have said it was a fine use of the working capital loan funds, because the use was at their discretion, based on the loan agreement. 

Fried, the defense’s second expert witness, reiterated some of what Snyder told the court, also using his previous banking experience about what IBC Bank could have done to prevent losing as much money as they did in the process. Fried stressed that working capital can be used at the “discretion of management” and distributing the funds to Reagor and Dykes in this way was a legitimate use of the working capital, as long as it did not cause the company to go into default and if they were paying the loan on time. 

Charles Darter, the third and final witness for the defense, and the defense’s only fact witness, spoke about Reagor’s financial prowess, relying on the former RDAG Chief Financial Officer Shane Smith for the majority of the group’s financial decisions. Darter, a certified public accountant, served both as Reagor’s personal accountant, as well as the accountant for RDAG. 

After the defense’s witnesses

After the defense brought forward its three witnesses, Cogdell once again renewed a motion for Reagor’s acquittal, stating that there was not sufficient evidence to convict Reagor beyond a reasonable doubt. In response to the motion, Jeffrey Haag, a member of the prosecution’s counsel, once again argued the motion, saying it should be denied based on the information in the trial brief. 

In response to the defense’s motion, and after the prosecution responded, U.S. District Judge Matthew  J. Kacsmaryk, the federal judge overseeing Reagor’s trial, once again denied the defense’s motion for acquittal, stating that a jury could still find Reagor guilty, based on the evidence which has been presented throughout the trial. 

After the jury was dismissed for the day, officials on the prosecution side, as well as the defense side, took a few hours to discuss the jury charge, a set of instructions which will be read to the jury prior to the beginning of closing arguments, according to the American Bar Association. This document is in 26 parts and consists of more than 40 pages. 

The jury charge, along with the closing arguments, are expected to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday in Amarillo Federal Court, the fourth day of the trial. The jury will then meet to make its verdict. 

This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates.

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