An Introduction as the Government and Defendants lay down closing arguments
On March 11th, 2015 the Government delivered its close, with a passionate and peppery presentation by Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Eggers.
It was followed by an hours’ worth of a highly personalized plea from Attorney Klootz for John Paul Hansen. Looking earnest and dashing and full into a 1980’s civil rights courtroom drama persona, he recalled his days mustering a hard fought defense resulting in the freedom for a man falsely accused of murder who had festered on Death Row for a dozen years. He talked about fishing with his boys.
Klootz exuded the charm of a tousled haired and gangly idealistic young lawyer from Mississippi. He referred so often to Hovind, we began to forget he was Paul John Hansen’s attorney. When he did occasionally refer to Hansen, he told us among other things that Hansen knew more than anyone about the 1776 legal milieu but should avoid trying to involve himself in modern law.
Attorney Keith for Kent Hovind was methodical, believable, broadly intelligent, clearly liked by the Jury for his sincerity. Then, the piece de resistance, the rebuttal by Eggers, where she came out in force, newly energized and engaged, and at times, seemingly hostile and frustrated.
Despite the genuinely moving work by the attorneys for the defendants, which I found stirring, Kent Hovind is guilty of violating the law. Paul John Hansen as well. This despite the fact that Hovind is a cutesy pop icon, the panda brand of the extreme Christian right, a fast talking wind up doll that was the bright kid in class who was both admired and despised by the other boys , always has an answer, paternal and sadly hapless, Doctor Dino.
It’s quite interesting to watch the efforts of the Free Kent Hovind folks, as they plan and get ready for the second trial date of May 18th, keeping as busy as possible doing what “Free Someone” movements do complete with dissension in the ranks.
They mostly want what we all want. And that is to be part of a movement with folks they know and respect, who “get” them, for whom their beliefs are normal and not kooky. Each of them wants to snag that brass ring and make a difference, uncovering a new factoid of the day that will be the silver bullet that sets Kent free, or at least gives his team a new angle to pursue.
They want to get recognition for recruiting a new and important member who will become active. A good social media campaign is a huge plus for them, and to be able to demonstrate that their organizing techniques are cutting edge and high tech and attractive, down to the graphics and a quality digital aesthetic. Choosing and funding a legal team that reflects their ideology is paramount.
It is a social thing as well, being able to talk and chat and write to other kindred souls that are also moved by Kent Hovind’s plight, or even who once long-ago stirred by his videos and teachings.
Unfortunately, many of those in the Free Kent movement also look for a new enemy to dump on, almost on a daily basis. There have been lurid video trailers produced replete with images of Hitler as a stand in for the US Government, as well as nicely made mini-video narratives, one with a capable teen presenter.
Like Hovind himself, they are on a perpetual search for the panacea that will set Hovind free, a loophole, such as a Freedom of Information Act Suit to find out just how expensive this expensive trial was, or snagging a fabulous Christian/Sovereign Citizen Lawyer, mounting an attack on Wikipedia, and other campaign techniques to try and get a ground swell of public support.
Getting into the majors for the Free Kent Hovind movement types means getting right-wing Christian talk show hosts and politicians to give then the time of day.
Above all, they need a common enemy, those people and institutions they can rail against. Maybe it will help them find inner peace, but a few in their movement are just plain mean, mocking and picking at weaknesses they perceive in their opposition, taunting and needling and trying to shame. It’s not just politically incorrect, it’s the wrong way to act, so hatefully and obviously bigoted, intolerant of others and demonstrative of the insecurity that needs to put others down to be fulfilled.
Jonathan is off on assignment and promises the last two installments of this series will be ready next week.