Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Report On Kent Hovind Court Proceedings Monday May 18, 2015

Dee Holmes who has been following the Kent Hovind case when not busy with her knitting took the plunge and made a trip to Pensacola for the trial that was not held this week.  Here is her first person account of the proceedings on Monday May 18, 2015, when as it turned out Kent Hovind did not go on trial.

I was directed from the “new [black mold infested] courthouse” to the old courthouse by a US Marshal. 

I ran into a an older guy who had a scooter and said he was from North Carolina. He detached from me when he saw a number of Hovindicators across the street from the courthouse. There were a number of men, a couple of women, several children and a teenage boy. The men were wearing jeans and nice shirts, what I think of as country dressed up. The women and girls were wearing dresses.  The women and the kids did not come into the courtroom.

Layout of the street:  North Palafox at that location has a wide esplanade, almost a little park. There are lots of trees, benches, and to my chagrin, free parking. (I paid for parking in a city lot because, well, wanted to make sure I could park!) 

One of the Hovindicator vehicles had a bumper sticker on it that said, “Abortion stops a beating heart / But isn’t murder—what?”.  My thought was, “These are people you can’t argue with.”

There was another woman there with her husband. She wore jeans and a Hovindicator t-shirt. She looked to be mid-30s with long, strawberry blonde hair. Her husband, jeans and a shirt.  He went up the steps to the courthouse to check on when we could enter and came back out and said we could.  Had to go through a metal detector, have my stuff scanned and present photo ID. Was a bit of an issue with my purse. I told the guy to dump it out. Apparently the pills I keep in the middle section of the purse was setting something off.

There were a lot of US Marshals around! At one point in court I counted four, plus Kent and Paul’s jailer. 

“Can I have my Bible in court?” “Yes, but you can’t read it.”

I am sweating to death! I have forgotten how humid the South is!

No reading allowed per US Marshal supervisor (a woman).  I am glad of my press pass that lets me scribble notes!

I noticed behind the judge’s bench there are fasces (bundles of wood used in ancient Rome to symbolize a judge’s power and jurisdiction). The front of the bench also repeats that motif.

The judge’s bench is rather high up. Then there’s a level for court administrators in front of her and below that the floor. The prosecution sits to the left from my view (right from the judge’s side). The defense has two tables set up to the right. The jury box is to the left of the prosecution’s table. Those chairs looked comfortable.

The court reporter entered and set up her equipment.

Then a screen lowered from the right side. I didn’t think we were going to have any audio-visual and I didn’t notice any during the hearing. 

Judge’s assistant is working on the judge’s monitor and arranging stuff on her desk. 

I’m wondering what the huge gray telephone book sized book is that guy is hauling around near the bench. Statute book? It’s weird to see a big book like that in the era of computers. 

In the courtroom at this point there are maybe 15 people. The women and children are still outside. It’s very quiet outside.

The two Hovindicators Jonathan interviewed yesterday at UWF came. Today mom was wearing a skirt and blouse and the young man was dressed up quite nice.

Another Hovindicator came in and sat next to me, but after a word or two with the two above, she moved behind. I think I’ve got cooties or something. She moved behind me. Marshal tells her no bible rieading.

Kent and Paul are brought in wearing prison orange, handcuffs and leg chains. 

The woman behind me is praying over and over again, “In the name of Jesus, I’m here for you buddy.” I remember there were times when I would do that too.

Kent and Paul’s jailer, a woman, removes their cuffs but the leg chains stay on.

The older bald guy at the defense table is Thomas Keith. The younger is Christopher Klotz.

People speak in low voices.

One of the Marshals announces:  “All rise! God save the United States and this honorable court!” We all rise as Judge Rodgers enters.

She looks just like her picture. 

Judge starts with review of recent activity:  trial was canceled due to motion from prosecution.  There was a flurry of activity in the last couple of weeks, especially last week. Motions in limine [to exclude evidence] were filed and then last week, motions to dismiss. On Friday, the government filed a motion to continue the trial and this was denied by the court, which was followed by the motion to dismiss the remaining counts 1, 2 and 4. This is a retrial of the March trial. 

Tiffany Eggers gets up and speaks. She asks for dismissal as of right under FRCP 48A. There are technical issues with the indictments and she wantes them dismissed. She doesn’t say much.

Keith gets up. He admits the motions were filed beyond the pretrial date but after review, he says the indictment failed to give notice plus the conduct was  in good faith.  He said he should have filed this before the first trial.  “It’s on the lawyer.”

Keith also notes the problem in his other filing on count one with “and others” language. Keith says that he should have moved for acquittal. 

Keith thinks there’s an issue with the conduct aspect of the mail fraud charge as there has to be an intent to deceive.  Kent and Paul weren’t intending to deceive. 

Judge:  Prepared to rule on the motion to dismiss.

Keith:  Putting this on the record and worried about jeopardy if there’s a further prosecution.

Judge:  Any dismissal would mean a separate indictment. (Judge smiles.)

Keith: wants a dismissal with prejudice and starts to go in how Kent’s been locked up in the jail since last October. 

Judge sees an inconsistency here (not sure what that was about).

Klotz speaks from the defense table. He’s not representing Hansen in this trial but he wants to speak to the last trial. He agrees with Keith that he should have brought these things up at the last trial.

Judge:  She is prepared to deny [Keith’s] motion to dismiss. She didn’t agree with the Pendergast case. Maybe she should go ahead and file a ruling on that. She’s very clear that this is on the record that she would have denied the motion. She mentions something about 2255 “foreclose any prejudice argument.” 

At this point, Paul Hansen comes forward. He walks up to the podium, says he challenges Eggers ability to operate in this court and hands Eggers a yellow piece of papere.

Paul asks for dismissal.

Judge:  Prosecution is free to dismiss. They filed in response to your motion.

Judge: You Need to bring up bad faith and prejudice the next time charges are filed.

Paul asks for dismissal with prejudice.

Judge:  This is premature. To the extent there’s a new indictment, that is when you would bring up the bad faith.

Paul wants to ask the prosecutor to drop charges 1-6.

Judge:  Can’t do that now. You can ask the court but you can’t ask the prosecutor.

Paul asks to talk to his standby counsel. 

Judge:  Le Sigh and gives permission.

Paul comes back.  He cites a case (didn’t catch the citation). He also requests release from custody and to be sentenced today. Also wants all charges dismissed because prosecution is giving up on the case.  He makes an argument that the contempt portion of the case is based on the mail fraud charges.

Judge:  Thank you.

Paul:  Wants to know if Eggers’ license works at this jurisdiction, wants it on the record.

Judge:  I won’t allow it and won’t order it.

Eggers:  There’s a June 22 ?? Sentencing for contemptuous conduct.

I think Paul goes back to Klotz at that moment then comes back to the podium and says, the statutory maximum is 6 months (that is actually untrue).

Judge Rodgers:  I will be issuing a ruling on the government motion and on Hovind’s Rule 29 motion later today. I will also be contacting the probation department re where they are at on the sentencing report. [Presumably this is in response to Paul’s request to be sentenced today.] However, Paul is confined under an order of Magistrate judge Kahn and Hovind is under a sentence of custody. 

Judge:  There will be two written orders sometime today. 

All rise and the judge leaves the court. 

Kent is locked back in the handcuffs first, then Paul. The courtroom is so quiet you can hear the jailer tightening down the cuffs. They are taken out. The Hovindicators start making to leave and I do as well.


While Dee was in the Courthouse, Jonathan Schwartz was outside filming.

Jonathan also interviewed two other observers of the proceedings.

Later on Monday Judge Rodgers would surprise most observers by allowing a motion to acquit Kent Hovind on the contempt charge that he had been convicted of in March, while also, as expected ruling in favor of the Government's motion to drop the other charges without prejudice.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Documentary Maker Seeks Interviews With Hovind Supporters

Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media is in Pensacola covering the court proceedings in the case of Kent Hovind.  He is also documenting the views of Hovindicators - Kent's supporters who have been waging a vigorous social media campaign on his behalf.

Jonathan is inviting Hovind supporters to come to the Hilton Beach Hotel  in Pensacola (12 Via De Luna Drive) this evening May 18th, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  You can just show up, but feel free to contact Steven Gray - 850-733-8913.


Here is Kent Hovind's first call to Rudy Davis after this morning's proceedings.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Kent Hovind Not Facing Trial On Monday

Robert Baty's facebook site Kent and Jo Hovind v IRS has the text of a government motion to dismiss the remaining counts on Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen's indictment. The Hovindicators will give all the glory to God for this apparent victory, but they will probably also give a tip of the hat to the good work of the United States Justice Foundation.

Hansen and Hovind are still not out of the woods as they were found guilty of contempt of court in March and face sentencing on that.

Here is the text of the motion.

Document #194
Filed May 16, 2015 
v. CASE NO. 3:14cr91/MCR
COMES NOW the United States of America, by and through the undersigned Assistant United States Attorney, and files this Motion to Dismiss Counts One, Two, and Four of the Superseding Indictment Without Prejudice pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 48(a).
On May 11 and May 12, 2015, the government received the defendants' motions to dismiss. (Docs. 180 and 184).
The defendants' motions to dismiss were filed beyond the deadlines previously set by the Court for the filing of such motions.
The defendants' motions raise issues regarding the technical sufficiency of the Superseding Indictment, including the adequacy of notice. (Docs. 180 and 184).
Due to the issues raised by the defendants, and the timing of their motions, the government respectfully moves to dismiss Counts One, Two, and Four of the Superseding Indictment without prejudice, pursuant to Rule 48(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The government submits that the relief sought is in the interest of justice.
As the government's motion is made prior to trial, the defendants’ consent is not required. Rule 48(a) provides, The government, may with leave of court, dismiss an indictment, information, or complaint.
The government may not dismiss the prosecution during trial without the defendant’s consent.
The “leave of court” requirement has been interpreted to support the government providing the Court with the reason for its request. United States v. Dyal, 868 F. 2d 424 (11th Cir. 1989); United States v. Salinas, 693 F.2d 348 (5th Cir. 1982); United States v. Cowan, 524 F.2d 504 (5th Cir. 1975).
In Cowan, the Fifth Circuit noted that, The Executive remains the absolute judge of whether a prosecution should be initiated and the first and presumptively the best judge of whether a pending prosecution should be terminated.
The exercise of its discretion with respect to the termination of pending prosecutions should not be judicially disturbed unless clearly contrary to manifest public interest. Cowan, 524 F.2d at 513.
There is a presumption that the government acts in good faith. United States v. Collins, 300 Fed. Appx. 663, 666 (11th Cir. 2008), citing Salinas, 693 F.2d at 352. 5. Therefore, the government moves to Dismiss Counts One, Two, and Four of the Superseding Indictment without prejudice, in the interest of justice, and in order to ensure that the defendants are adequately apprised, with reasonable certainty, of the nature of the accusation.
WHEREFORE, the undersigned Assistant United States Attorney files this Motion to Dismiss Counts One, Two, and Four of the Superseding Indictment Without Prejudice.

Respectfully submitted,
United States Attorney
/s/ Tiffany H. Eggers
Assistant United States Attorney

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kent Hovind's Innocence Narrative - Truth Some - Whole Truth Not So Much

As Kent Hovind faces another trial on May 18th he has honed the Hovindication narrative to a fine edge. Here is his latest summary as to what the case is all about.

As Rudy Davis puts it Kent Hovind was sentenced to ten years in prison for taking his own money out of the bank and now faces life in prison for mailing letter. The narrative supports the notion that the prosecution of Kent Hovind is religiously, even satanically, motivated.  Because he was so effective in exposing the lies of evolution, one of the key supports of the New World Order, he has been imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Here is the thing.  I think that further incarceration of Kent Hovind serves no good purpose. The government's case against him in the current trial strikes me as pretty thin.  I might have voted not guilty if I was on the original jury. I think a free Kent Hovind is probably less harmful to the cause of conventional tax compliance and the general sanity of the country than the vicitmized Doc Dino behind bars.  With that all said, I also believe that the Hovindication religious persecution narrative is ridiculous.

Oddly enough, I don't doubt Hovind's sincerity.  He is probably sincere in his belief that he has not broken any laws and has paid all the taxes that he owes. What he leaves out of the story is that he means he has not broken any laws that he thinks are valid and has paid all the taxes he thinks he owes.

It's About The Taxes Not The Dinosaurs

To understand why the IRS initially became interested in Kent Hovind you can go to the video he made titled CSE 103 Class 6 Topic "Income Tax"

In that video he explains that he has not filed an individual income tax return in 28 years, because there is no law that requires it.  Nothing about his vow of poverty or status as a minister.  You can still catch him spouting that type of rhetoric here and there as  when he told me that the IRS is a Puerto Rican collection company.

My interview with Kent is the only one I know of that was not inside the conspiracy theory echo chamber.

The number one proof of Kent's innocence on #FreeKent are letters about the voluntary nature of Form 1040.

You will hear Kent say that the investigations by the IRS of him personally yielded nothing, but that is not accurate.  He was never criminally charged with tax evasion, but in 2013, the Tax Court approved the IRS assessment of over $3.3 million in individual income tax and penalties for the years 1998-2006.

So if we were to accept the full Hovindication dream and say that Doctor Hovind's 2006 conviction is reversed and he is entitled to get the $400,000 plus in structured funds back and say $100,000 per year for each year he was incarcerated, he is probably still over a million bucks in the hole when you throw in the interest.

If you look at all the publically available information and still want to embrace the Hovindication narrative, you have to believe that the federal government does not have the authority to enforce the income tax.

There are many people who make arguments like that.  I happen to think that they are wrong as does the entire federal judiciary.  People who get really stubborn about it can get into significant trouble.  Kent Hovind is one of those people.  In 2006, he was not only convicted of structuring, he was also convicted of interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws.  That relates to his antics in response to investigations of him.

The saddest part of this is that a conventionally compliant Kent Hovind would not have had to pay a lot of taxes, since religious organizations get very favorable tax treatment.  You will note in the first video that he says the government should not be involved in determining what is or is not a church.  Unfortunately, in order to give churches the favorable treatment, it is necessary to define them.  Creation Science Evangelism was not a church, although it would not have had any trouble establishing itself as tax-exempt if Kent had chosen the compliance route that his son Eric has chosen.

That is why I don't doubt his sincerity, He is certainly not being clever.  As he relates it he got the idea for filing the lis pendens from a real estate genius, who was also his cell mate. It reminded me of when I was taking the CPA exam and people who had taken the exam many times were offering me advice.  Other than information about the best restaurants near the exam site, I didn't think they had a lot worthwhile to offer.  Gee Kent you took advice from you cell mate and it got you in even more trouble and you're surprised.

Still stupid and stubborn isn't criminal, which makes me want Kent to not get any more time and I'm glad to see that his public defender, who everybody seems to think is pretty good, is putting on a conventional defense for him.

Peter J Reilly CPA has been covering the trials of Kent Hovind since the fall of 2012.  Reilly's hopes of being the first tax blogger to give up his day job keep growing dimmer, but he will never give up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kent Hovind Trials - Final Round Of The First Fight - Installment Five

Jonathan Schwartz continues his analysis of the final day of Kent Hovind's March trial.

Thomas Steven Keith has been practicing law for 38 years. He’s sixty-two. He resides north of the Airport in Pensacola, in a clean sub-development. If you were to triangulate his domicile the three points that you might find easiest to plot would be a swimming pool supply depot, a nursing academy, and a pre-school, all not far from the Olive Baptist Church. He was appointed as the Public Defender to represent Kent Hovind. I thought he did quite a job.

Keith gives off the impression in the courtroom that he is a fairly ordinary, hardworking man.  Kindly, quiet, and ever so slightly hunched from carrying a briefcase for years. All this to say is that he is easy to underestimate, especially by Hovind acolyte Rudy Davis who wanted him to jump up and down in a theatrical manner and yell “objection” every five minutes.  He in fact put up a convincing and intelligent defense, powerful in its simplicity and certainly, with the guy next door persona, the only individual in the courtroom that was universally trusted.

 On the morning of March 11th, 2015 Attorney Thomas Keith, Hovind turned and faced the Jury and argued earnestly for his clients release in a down to earth manner.  “Is there even a crime here?”  Poor judgment was exercised, Keith argued, yes, admittedly, but no bona fide criminal acts were conducted. As to there being a federal crime involved, hardly.

The guy next door

Attorney Keith is the voice of reason, the older and wiser “good guy" that would dare step in between two young bloods in a bar fight, and have them believe that the issue they were fighting over hardly warranted rage, and that they should just go home. He was the counterweight to the eccentricities of the defendant and Hovind’s more vocal supporters. I believe that if they contributed to the defense effort in coordination with Keith they would make tangible progress towards Hovind’s release.

Mail, Schmail

Keith argued in Hovind’s defense that the mere fact that such a big deal was made over the property lien paperwork (intended to block the sale of property that had been up for forfeiture as a substitute for structured funds that were forfeited) being mailed through the United States Postal Service was just a pretext for the government to tugboat the case to the federal level and therefore federal jurisdiction and federal court.

This whole series of events, continued Attorney Keith, hardly merits common civil misconduct status let alone a federal trial. Bernie Madoff, Keith pointed out empathetically, now there was a true criminal who committed terrible fraud that destroyed lives, a true Ponzi scheme, certainly not Kent Hovind who did what he did out of hapless persistence but not ill intent.

Insufficient evidence 

There is not nearly enough evidence, insisted Keith, set out in the government’s case, to stack up to a legitimate criminal charge. The prosecution has not come close to proving that the court’s instructions were willfully violated by Hovind, nor does the government’s case take into account Hovind’s intent, which was not to commit a crime, but rather undertake a series of actions in the sincere belief that he would eventually prevail, go free, and recover his property.

Hovind himself hoped his numerous appeals and strategies would bear fruit and earn his vindication, hence he sincerely thought others should know that the government's hold on the forfeited property was not sacrosanct. Given this context, and the property being held in trust by Hansen and the Creation Science Evangelism Trust , the defense argued that Hovind did not know that he was not really allowed to file a lien, or that it would be deemed a criminal act. Hovind was acting in keeping with what he believed to be true, and as an eccentric, but honest, individual.

The Defense Attorney recaps events with artful simplicity

Keith’s tactic was to tell the story of what Hovind was accused of, and retell the course of events in matter of fact terms that would have one questioning oneself as to why one could have possibly thought Hovind guilty of anything major. There was always the strong implication it was all a bit silly and over complicated. So in the second telling of events, the prosecution having presented the first telling, Keith set the scene simply, switching back and forth from past-to-present tense in a persuasive singsong, matter-of-fact recantation that one found difficult not to believe as told in its’ everyman’s voice. It was as if a good and loyal husband was telling his wife what had gone on in the office that day, as he'd done every day for years.

Others were in charge, not Hovind

In 2011, Hovind’s accused co-conspirator John Paul Hansen, (the nominee for the trust that according to the defendants legally held the properties that had been later forfeited to the IRS) assured Hovind that he, Hansen, was acting properly in the name of the Church of Science Evangelism (CSE) trust. (Hovind also referred to his taking advice from a retired Judge Dale of Florida.)

The property was under the Trust’s protection, the control of CSE had been effectively shifting over time from Glenn Stoll to John Paul Hansen. Hansen filed liens, quiet title motions, at his or Stoll’s volition, with no knowledge, or at least not a lot of real attention, on Hovind's part.

 Hovind could not be in contempt of a court order that didn’t specifically name Hovind

What’s more, Hovind was not a named party in the court order that had declared on June 2012 that there could be no more liens, by “ agents and representatives”. It did not apply to him. The indictment of October, 2014 was wrongfully directed, because Hovind was not in the loop and not the wrongdoer.

Keith’s plea to the Jury: Not guilty, and make it unanimous

It does not matter if one considered Hovind naïve or delusional. For there to be a Crime committed there has to be fraudulent intention. Hovind fought the charges against him it in a way that he knew were contrarian but believed always legal. The Jury should rule unanimously that Hovind was not guilty. It just makes common sense.

With that Keith filled his banker’s boxes, and with so many thousands of pages that later that day he almost spilled those same boxes while descending the ramp on the court house steps. Motion after motion, filing after filing generated by his client. Hovind’s years of spew.

Then the Prosecutor stood up and delivered her rebuttal.

And that will be Jonathan's final installment.