Reagor defense attorneys withdraw, motion filed for hearing after missing forfeiture response deadline

(KCBD NewsChannel 11)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:01 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:06 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Co-counsels in the defense of Bart Reagor have formally withdrawn after Reagor’s partial acquittal by a jury in October. Meanwhile, Reagor has responded to the forfeiture motion calling for money the Justice Department says Reagor obtained as a result of false statement to a bank.

Attorneys Matt Powell and Tray Payne filed a motion to withdraw as co-counsel to Bart Reagor on November 22, saying: “The attorneys were hired to assist with the jury trial and have completed the obligations they were retained to perform.” U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk granted the motion the following day. Dan Cogdell and Nicholas Norris are still Counsel for Reagor, as of this report.

When Reagor was charged in April with two counts of bank fraud and one count of false statement to a bank, the indictment included a notice to Reagor that the Government would seek forfeiture of “any property constituting, or derived from, proceeds that Reagor obtained directly or indirectly” as a result of these charges.

On October 15, a jury found Bart Reagor not guilty on two counts of bank fraud, but guilty of making a false statement to a bank about his intentions of using more than $1.7 million of a $10 million loan from the International Bank of Commerce to Reagor-Dykes Auto Group.

In early November, the Justice Department moved for an order to Bart Reagor to forfeit that $1.7 million, saying “the testimony and evidence established that Reagor obtained $1,760,000 as a result of the false statement... and subsequently spent or dissipated the $1,760,000.” That motion was opposed by Reagor’s defense.

On November 23, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk signed an order calling for explanation from Reagor’s defense, after they “failed to file a timely response” to the forfeiture motion.

Reagor’s defense filed a response on November 29, moving for the court to deny the forfeiture or conduct a hearing when trial transcript is available; claiming prosecutors “introduced almost no evidence at trial tracing the proceeds,” and the “focus on proving the elements of False Statement to a Bank” did not prove the amounts Reagor actually obtained as a result of the false statement.

“Because of the manner in which the government charged this case, it only needed to prove that a portion of the loan proceeds were used for some purpose other than ‘working capital,’” the motion states. “The government therefore spent little effort in proving where these funds went—or in what quantities.” The response claims evidence in the case did not prove a specific property forfeiture of $950,951.18 was extracted from the bank account in question, “or that this account is owned or controlled by Mr. Reagor in the first place.”

Reagor’s defense also claims the forfeiture should be denied as an “excessive fine in violation of the 8th amendment,” saying while not presumptively invalid, “the restitution sought by the government is nearly twice (the amount) authorized by statute.”

As for the missed filing deadline, Reagor’s defense says they believed the court’s enlargement of time for filing post-trial motions included the forfeiture.

Reagor faces up to 30 years in federal prison for the charge of False Statement to a Bank. Judge Kacsmaryk will make that decision during the sentencing hearing, scheduled to take place February 24, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.

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