Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day 3 Of Kent Hovind Trial - Government Will Finish On Friday

Kent Hovind is one of the leading lights in the field of Young Earth Creationism, the notion that there is scientific evidence for a hyper-literal reading of the Book of Genesis. YEC implies that the world is roughly 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and humans must have co-existed.  Nearing the end of a long sentence for tax related crimes, Hovind finds himself on trial this week for fraud and contempt of court related to filings on properties seized in connection with his first conviction.  His co-defendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism, Hovind's ministry. Hansen challenges the authority of the government in many areas, including the right to bring him to trial in the federal court in Pensacola.

Abigail Megginson, a student at Pensacola State College, joined the ranks of Hovindologists yesterday for the tail end of Day 3 of the trial.  No note taking is allowed in the court room.

My first time reporting on the Kent Hovind trial began as I rolled up in my car beside the court house around 2:20 p.m. I knew I was in the right place when I saw a demonstrator holding a neon green sign saying “Kent today, you tomorrow.”
I have had some experience with teen court but not a federal trial. Inexperienced as I was, I tried to ask who was on the stand when I walked in and was subsequently shushed by the court Marshall. No talking and no whispering in court from now on.
When I walked in IRS agent Schiender was on the stand being questioned by Government attorney, Tiffany Eggers. Schnieder was mostly calm and relaxed but he occasionally swiveled in his chair and tugged at his collar.
The Jury seemed to be weary after three days of the trial and leaned back in their comfortable recliners that I got pretty jealous of after the two hours I spent in a wood-backed pew.
Tiffany Eggers came off as extremely focused. She wasted no time in getting her things together. At one point, she was slightly jogging up to the witness stand to retrieve evidence from the witness. Her eyebrows were often furrowed and she maintained a high level of focus throughout the afternoon.
Hansen’s attorney Christopher Klotz, on the other hand, seemed a bit inexperienced. On one occasion, he started to ask a question to the witness and then had to step back and introduce himself. He even made the mistake of asking the real estate attorney how many years of experience he had after it had already been stated earlier.
Thomas Keith, Hovind’s public defender, did not speak save for a couple of objections.
Hansen sat in his chair and showed signs of nervousness like twitching, taking his glasses on and off and constantly swiveling in his chair.
Hovind, however, remained still and calm.
Real estate attorney with 35 years of experience in Miami for 35 years. He was questioned on how the lins pendens affects the buyer. If a lins pendens is filed on a property it lets the buyer know that a lawsuit has been filed concerning that property.  
Chief U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers was in control of her courtroom, although, she seemed eager to leave as she asked Eggers if they could adjourn for the day at 5 p.m. instead of 5:30. I didn’t get a real sense of her until the end when she asked if the Jury had any questions. One jury member asked if she could work Thursday and over the weekend, Judge Rodgers responded not only with a yes but also kindly commended the jury member for being a hard worker and told her she wished she could have a day off.
James Kelly, a correctional officer at a prison camp where  Hovind was held, took the stand. He told Eggers that Hovind had planned to share a tall stack of business plans with Paul Hansen during a visitation. Kelly had told Hovind that doing business in prison was not permitted.
Eggers also pointed out a conversation Hovind had with his son Eric Hovind about the land he had purchased. Kent Hovind said he expects to get “everything” back when he returns home. His son however, disagreed, and reminded his father that he had taken a vow of poverty.
Steven Anders (a church friend of Hansen’s) approached the stand last. He admitted Hansen had asked him to sign documents without explaining what the documents actually meant anywhere from 10-15 times. He was told by Hansen that the documents had to be sent off that day. Eggers asked Anders if he would have signed the documents if he had known what the documents were. Anders replied that he would not have.

After the Jury had left the courtroom, Eggers stated that she would be finishing up her case Friday, which is much earlier than anticipated. Judge Rodgers strongly advised the defense to be prepared for the next trial date.

18-year-old Abigail Megginson is an up-and-coming journalist from Pensacola, Florida. She is currently the editor-in-chief of her college newspaper (Pensacola State College’s The Corsair) and is looking to break into broadcast journalism.


  1. It sounds like there was no notice before the jury that Anders was a reluctant witness and that a warrant was issued for his arrest and executed in order to insure his appearance.

  2. I think that would be prejudicial to the defendants and really unnecessary.

  3. Thanks for another excellent write-up.

  4. & #FreeKent for Live coverage of the case