Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jonathan Schwartz Finishes His Account Of Kent Hovind's Trial

This is the final installment of Jonathan Schwartz'a coverage of the March trial of Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen on fraud, conspiracy and contempt charges.

This post is supplemented by a timeline that is posted separately.

Federal Prosecutor Tiffany Hope Eggers thrashes Dr. Dino and co-conspirator, in Fraud and Contempt trial.

The Prosecutions close and subsequent motions are filed in response to early calls for dismissal.

Kent Hovind released and picked up by Jim Bob Duggar

Jim Bob Duggar (front left) Eric Hovind (back left) Jo Hovind (back right) Kent Hovind (front right).

On the 8th of July, Kent Hovind, best known as Dr. Dino, was freed from Federal prison after charges against him were dropped by the Federal Distrct Court of North Florida.

The entourage picking up Hovind at the penitentiary gates in Mississippi included his son, wife, and none other than the patriarch of the Duggar family, Jim Bob Duggar. 

The Duggars became reality T.V celebrities on their TLC show, 19 kids and counting. They’ve been long-time friends and supporters of Kent Hovind and his family. A couple of months before Hovind’s release, Jim Bob had been under fire for defending his oldest son, who had admitted to sexually abusing his sisters and a babysitter as a teenager. As the Duggar family’s secret began spreading, Kent Hovind’s son Eric became one of the family’s biggest defenders through posts on his Facebook page.

The stage for Hovind's release was set back in March at his trial on charges that could have kept him in federal prison much longer.  We return now to the final hours of that trial.

The final hour

Tiffany Hope Eggers rolled into her closing arguments. It was the last day in the Kent Hovind/ Paul Hansen trial for contempt, conspiracy and fraud. The charges were surrounding illegal liens Hovind and Hansen placed on the properties under forfeiture. The property was being sold by the IRS to recover monies levied for structuring that Hovind had been found guilty of. It was all related to a case that Hovind had been imprisoned for eight years prior. All the crimes were committed while he was in prison.

Tiffany Hope Eggers and the HoVindicators

I use Tiffany Hope Eggers full name, at that is how the Free Kent Hovind movement, nicknamed the Hovindicators refer to her.  They are a hodgepodge of creationists, sovereign citizens, militia members, conspiracy theorists, Christian sects, opportunists, con-men, race haters, bullies, bloggers and genuine sympathizers of Hovind. By using her middle name on their radio shows and blogs, it shows that they know something about her, some intimate detail that makes her more vulnerable to their mocking and threats.

Tiffany Hope Egger Style

It is also because she frequently uses middle names for precision in her cross examinations, and precise is she, the t crossing and i dotting kind, not one to be hung on technicalities. Today in Court she is fast, brilliant, and persuasive; she breaks down the evidence and makes neat work of the closings of the defense attorneys, who themselves gave impressive closes, in her rebuttal,  

Exasperation turns to anger

Tiffany Hope Eggers seemed truly angry, though it might have been merely Court craft.  It was as if she was a different person today. Up until the close, she was fast, energetic and efficient, polite but not very emotive.  She was kind to witnesses, while not afraid to butt heads with the defendants. She practically always asked the witnesses to read aloud, and relied on rapid review of documentation. She presented the evidence with the help of a high-tech Court room. She examined the witnesses and defendants with vigor and animation. At times, it seemed as if she favored her kinetic use of the big screen display over building rapport with the jurors.  

She wore the same style of blue pant suit, every day. Practically jogging out of her corner, she would zig zag from the judge’s bench to the witness stand as she built her case. She seemed all business. Except on this day, the day of closing arguments. What I saw was personal outrage and genuine passion. 

Throughout the close, Tiffany Hope Eggers was showing a different face to the jury. A face that was not just all about lavish displays of documentary evidence such as, deftly excerpted phone calls from Hovind in prison, strategically extracted emails subpoenaed from Google, or an endless parade of clerks verifying signatures. On the day of her closing, she was Everyman. Furious with Kent Hovind, she characterized him as a spinner of tall tales and a con man.

The jury addressed

Tiffany Hope Eggers turned to face the jury and implored, kindly but sternly, “You must do what the Judge instructed. Set aside your emotions, biases and sympathies.” Referencing the Judge’s guidelines she reiterated, “Direct evidence is good to use in drawing your conclusions in this case, but also circumstantial evidence. They both count.” She then parlayed to make the point that Hovind takes every opportunity to bring up the maximum sentence possible to garner sympathy from the jury.

Nonsense and Greed

Tiffany Hope Eggers looked directly at the jury and began, “This is not a TV Courtroom. Their story makes no sense. No sense whatsoever” and then, the punchline. “The pair, Hansen and Hovind, did what they did out of greed. What’s more, is that Hovind had been at it for years, always motivated by wanting more.”

Throughout the prosecutor’s close and in supporting memorandum again and again, she recited the charges.

The main crime: Spurious liens on forfeited property

Count One: Conspiracy to commit mail fraud

Count One charges Kent E. Hovind and Paul John Hansen with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud for conduct occurring between June 1, 2011 and July 1, 2013. Eric Hovind, directed by his father Kent Hovind, sent Hansen $300 on April 6, 2011, $300 on June 6, 2011 and $400 on June 10, 2011. This allegedly enabled Hansen to file nine liens in three separate mailings to the Escambia County Clerk of Court.

This Count referenced the June 29, 2007 order. It established that Kent Hovind had lost title to the properties on which sat Dinosaur Adventure Land.  Hovind’s titles to his house, guest worker houses, ministry work space, and trust were all forfeited.

Tiffany Hope Eggers proceeded on to the events of 2009 when an order on July 29, 2009 finalized forfeitures. She emphasized that a trustee can rent property and otherwise act in a custodial and caretaking fashion. However, that wasn’t the case here. Glen Stoll was, at best, just a nominee trustee. He didn’t actually have the ability to do anything with the property, like sign leases and pay taxes. Hansen and Stoll, who proceeded Hansen in a similar role in Hovind’s life, were both mentioned in the closing as being absent, sham trustees of more than dubious status. 

Conspiracy Theory

Tiffany Hope Eggers reminded the jury that Hovind referred to the properties as his own. She then reviewed a crucial email that Eric Hovind received from his father.The document provided powerful proof of Hovind and Hansen entering into a conspiracy. Once again projected on the big screen, was the email sent by Kent Hovind to Eric. It was a message from imprisoned Kent Hovind in June of 2012 asking Eric if money had been sent to Hansen yet. Eric was supposed to send four thousand dollars to Hansen for legal expenses. This was, according to the prosecuotr, to pay him for fees and work involved in filing liens on the property that was being sold by the IRS to pay the forfeiture.

Email from Kent to Eric: “Has the $ been sent to Paul (Paul John Hansen, Hovind’s co-defendant) yet? I am running out of time to file the legal paperwork (15th) and he needs the $ asap. I do not want you to turn the entire account over to him. Just the 4k we discussed. Please send him the $ right away. He sent a bill I believe and time is of the essence! Please let me know when this is done.” (Exhibit 45 c)

Contempt of Court

Tiffany Hope Eggers continued on to Count Five, the criminal contempt of Court charges. She then reviewed the June 2007 order. It originally prescribed the forfeiting of the substitute property. (The jury, under curious circumstances, found Hovind guilty of this count).

On June 27, 2012, the Court had placed summary judgment against CSE, CSE Foundation & trusts and entered a permanent injunction and dissolved all entities. The June 27, 2012 order was directed to Creation Science Evangelism (Hovind’s ministry), the CSE Foundation, and several trusts that had been formed. It dissolved Hansen’s liens and placed a permanent injunction on any effort by entities or their agents/representatives to file liens or any other notices on the property.

The jury had to decide from the June 2007 and June 2012 injunctions that were on the jury verdict form if they found Hovind was in contempt of Court.  These later proved to be critical.

Count Five, defying a lawful order of the Federal Court

Count Five charges Paul John Hansen with Contempt of Court for willfully and knowingly disobeying and resisting a lawful order of the Federal Court, which was the order enjoining conduct dated June 27, 2012.

Count Six, codefendant Hansen says no to subpoena

Count Six charges Paul John Hansen with another count of Contempt of Court for willfully and knowingly disobeying and resisting a lawful order of the Court, which was a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum, that directed Hansen to appear before the Grand Jury on August 19, 2014, to provide handwriting samples and major case fingerprints. 

Now having covered all the counts,Tiffany Hope Eggers moved on quickly through the remainder of the case. She was on fire.

You can pay us in gold

Anthony Jaworski filed a civil suit on March 25, 2013, which was a notice of attempt to defraud. He said that Hansen had asked him for a certified check of $14,000 in back rent, also payable in gold. Jaworski asked that the IRS return the $101,000 that he paid for the property when he bought a house and trailer formerly part of the grounds of Dinosaur Adventure Land.

Tiffany Hope Eggers revisited the Paul Hansen letter to “Bob” on August 31, 2011 demanding rent of $100/day in US currency, also payable in gold, to Creation Evangelism Ministry.

She continued with the chronology. She was just getting started...

Filing and refiling fraudulent liens

On April 15, 2013, Hansen and Stoll filed a “Claim of Lien Affidavit of Obligation” with Escambia County, but it was returned due to insufficient filing fees.

May 22, 2013, Kent Hovind mailed four lis pendens to his son-in-law, Paul Dublin for him to submit. On the same day, Hansen and Stoll sent the “Claim of Lien Affidavit of Obligation” to a Miami title attorney handling the closing—it was identical to the April 15 document that had been returned by the Clerk in Escambia County.

To the first non-Hovind buyer of forfeited property. I’m telling you as a good neighbor, that the end is nigh

Tiffany Hope Eggers revisited Kent Hovind’s email to Eric Hovind on July 13, 2013. It read to the effect of: Property is off the tax rolls, Eric has first priority with a down payment, CSE has liens on it and Hovind has lis pendens.

A couple days later, Kent Hovind sent a polite snail mail to Jaworski to “overturn this travesty of justice” and keep him updated “as a good neighbor should.”

Didn’t know a thing about nothing

Tiffany Hope Eggers explained to the Jury that if the law forbids something, the orders of the Court are enough to establish wrongdoing. The Government needn’t pay mind to deliberate ignorance. Earnestly disagreeing with the law doesn’t prove Hovind or Hansen’s innocence either. False or fraudulent reckless indifference is sufficient to receive a verdict of guilty.

“It’s Hovind’s finances that we are talking about here, she asserted, “not a trust and not the ministries.”

Both Hovind and Hansen certainly knew about the 2012 injunction placed by the Florida Federal Court, she admonished. The Court had definitively banned the trust from filing liens on the forfeited property, she continued. Hansen, playing his usual shell game, had denied knowledge of the injunction during the trial. Hope told the Jury that of course Hansen knew about the injunction one way or another. He was deliberately ignoring it, she emphasized. Hansen’s ostrich defense did not hold up

The tag team, Hovind and Hansen both played the “I didn’t know what was going on” card in Court. Hansen claimed ignorance of purported trustee Glen Stoll’s actions such as “recording” the “claim of lien” with the clerk of Court. In addition, Hansen also asserted that he had no idea he had willfully violated the Court’s June 2012 Injunction.

Hovind continued Hansen’s theme of ignorance and claimed he didn’t know about the source of the information in the liens filed in June, August, and September 2011. He also swore against having any knowledge of what Stoll or Hansen had been doing. He alleged not knowing about the Court’s June 2012 Injunction and/or that he was even subject to it. (Pacer doc 135)

Aiding and abetting. If one conspirator is breaking the law, you all are breaking the law

Tiffany Hope Eggers stated that Hovind was guilty of mail fraud. Though he didn’t directly file any of the paperwork himself, it was as if he did because he had been aiding and abetting. Hovind had been authorizing Hansen to aid and abet Glen Stoll.

Tiffany Hope Eggers referenced the Pinkerton diagram. It explains the connection between the ringleader of the conspiracy and the conspirators. It’s also known as the non-defense model of conspiracy.

Pinkerton was a case concerning aiding and abetting.  In the Pinkerton case, Daniel Pinkerton alleged that he should not have been charged with tax evasion because although he had aided his brother, he didn’t actually commit the violation himself. His brother, Walter Pinkerton was the one that had executed the crime. The Court held that when a defendant is joined in a conspiracy, crimes committed to advance that conspiracy can be charged to all defendants as long as they are still part of the conspiracy when those crimes are committed.

According to the prosecution, Hovind and Hansen are just as guilty as the Pinkerton brothers were.

Openly breaking the law is still breaking the law

Tiffany Hope Eggers lambasted the defense for constantly reciting that Hovind and Hansen acted in the open. The honesty of their crimes is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they do it openly or not. A crime is still a crime.

She then faced the Jury saying, “the defense will tell you that Hovind and Hansen didn’t have contact, but they did through e-mail, voicemail and who knows how else. The defense will tell you he was about to win the case, but he lost all 22 motions

Hovind, the paper warrior

March 23, 2010, Hovind filed five separate motions asking for the U.S. Government to relieve him of his conviction, to which he was denied. However, once was not enough for Kent. He refiled the motions and asked them to reconsider those same five motions on April 4 of the same year.

Tiffany Hope Eggers explained why Hovind chose to file the lis pendens on only four properties and not all of them. She said it was because they were trying to stall the sale of the properties. Hovind put liens on the ones the Government had put up for sale. The Government was required to auction off one piece at a time for up to $430,000 and then return the rest of the money or parcels back to Kent Hovind.

The cover-up

The 2010 tax liens were delivered in an envelope from Hovind to his son-in-law, Paul Dublin. Kent later mailed a letter to Dublin, advising him to answer, “I don’t recall” when asked about receiving the liens. Kent wanted him to cover up the fact that he had indeed sent them. Josh Jocelyn, friend and advisor to Hovind, later asked Dublin if he remembered how he got the envelope and was accused of coaching him on how to lie.

Tiffany Hope Eggers noted that the 2010 tax liens neatly coincided with Kent asking Eric to pay Hansen “ASAP.”

Hovind complained that he had never been able to bring up his problems with his previous case into open Court to have them resolved. Due to filing the 2255 motions too late, he never got to argue over whether the Federal Government has jurisdiction over him and/or whether he is liable to pay taxes.

She flatly stated that the previous case had been tried on its own merits and fairly won by the Government and that Hovind had tried and failed to overturn the Jury’s unanimous decision that he was guilty. In the current proceedings, she went on to argue that he had blatantly violated the Court order and was clearly in contempt. He knew he had broken the rules.

It’s just common sense

In Tiffany Hope Eggers's  Rebuttal, she said greed was the ever present, ongoing pattern of the Hovind and Hansen pair. It was greed that continually motivated them to disrupt the sale of the forfeited property. Hovind deliberately ignored lawful orders as if it was his way or the highway. Hope asked the jury to use “common sense” when deliberating. 

For example, Hansen never went to Florida and never knew the names of the other trustees, even Glen Stoll. It just doesn’t add up. 

She pointed out that Hovind trusted Hansen and asked the jury, “What does this say about Hovind?” He didn't want an attorney because in his words, attorneys were “bound by rules.” The lawyers wouldn’t comply with Hovind’s requests because what he was asking them to do was illegitimate and illegal. She asked, “Is there a coincidence between Hansen and Hovind’s actions? How could Hovind not know what was going on? He worked on this case every day. Five of the nine properties were in their name, and in 2006, they were put under the name of the trust.”

It’s a sham

An attorney named Mike Rollo had been sought out by Hovind for advice and possible legal representation. Rollo ran from the case and referred to Hovind’s lis pendens as “no good, no legal significance, dead in the water, bad ideas, nothing, nada, zilch, a sham…
The defense made a motion in limine to exclude this evidence from the intended retrial.  

No Harm - No Foul?

Tiffany Hope Eggers responded to the part in Keith’s defense where he emphasized how Hovind tried to stop the sale of the property but failed. He was implying that it was “okay” because nothing had come of it. She rebutted with, “Is this no harm no foul? Shouldn’t they be punished for the crime?” She said that a lawyer with no defense (referring to Keith), blames the Government.

Hovind and Hansen use every trick in the book to get their lien and clear the sale

Hansen filed a $5MM lien on the CSE property on September 12, 2011. However, this was a fraudulent lien since the so called “trust,” didn’t own the property. Ownership had previously been forfeited to the U.S. Thus, the lien could be considered a fraud. On September 19, the same year, Hansen filed a quiet title action in Escambia County Court which was later moved to Federal Court.

Tiffany Hope Eggers pointed out that the jury can easily see Hovind’s attempt to cover up his crimes in the “I don’t recall” letter to the Dublins. She asked, “How can you give a good faith defense when there was an obvious decision to deceive others?” 

On occasion, Hovind borrowed from Hansen’s sovereign citizen playbook. In one instance, he claimed the Court didn’t have jurisdiction over him because the letters didn't pass over public land. Thus, Hovind reasoned that the tax laws really didn't require him to pay taxes.

Hovind’s trash talks the IRS and the Government 

Tiffany Hope Eggers quoted some vindictive statements Hovind had made about the filings and his plans with the Government. She pointed out that Hovind had said, “Why does the government want my money? They should go and get jobs.”

On December 2013, Hovind told his daughter Marlissa Dublin that the lis pendens he was filing were like “dog crap” on shoes and would be difficult to remove.

July 9, 2014, Kent said in an email to Mark Harrison that he was going to, “Sue ‘em, sue ‘em again, because it’s fun.” 

Guilty as charged

With that, Tiffany Hope Eggers came to the conclusion of her closing, and as any good and confident prosecutor would, she asked the jury to rule unanimously that Hovind and Hansen were guilty of all counts.

Hovind and Hansen’s defense was practical and down home. I wanted to be persuaded by them. After the rebuttal- I stood firm. Hovind and Hansen: guilty as sin. 

I found myself moved by Klotz’s defense as an observer and non-legal person. However, I thought he was defending Hovind more than Hansen. It was moving but not convincing. As for Keith, I wanted to believe him because he had this matter of fact way about him. But, when Tiffany Hope Eggers came back and gave her rebuttal, replayed phone calls, and showed parts of the e-mails, I thought prosecution was going to win. They had an airtight case, and this was the first time Tiffany Hope Eggers showed some real passion. I had witnessed the brilliant conclusion of the trial right before my eyes.

11 out of 12 jurors agree. 

The dissenter who hung the jury, was a militia member who appears to have been in prior contact with Free Kent Hovind supporters.

The Conclusion

Prosecutor Tiffany Hope Eggers in her rebuttal in Court and in her written refutation of the countless filings from Hovind and Hansen, used breadth and precision to prove that Hovind and his designate, Hansen, were guilty. It was enough for eleven jurors, most of them Christians, all of them from Pensacola and its surrounding towns, to vote the defendants guilty on all charges except for one of the contempt charges, but one lone juror pulled the not-guilty lever.

Jonathan, ever the investigative reporter, believes that there is more to this story. The involvement of the lone juror with the Escambia County Militia connecting him to other militia members who were involved with Hovind has him seeking the story behind the story behind the story.  I don't quite grasp his train of thought, but it seems like black helicopters may be involved. 


  1. I'm still anxiously looking forward to the Jen Fishburne interview and wondering if it will ever be published.

  2. I heard a report some time ago that one or more of my emails had made it into the courtroom and read as evidence in the case.

    I never got any details so that I might check my records and figure out what it was.

    I'm still waiting.

    Otherwise, I thought the above article was pretty good and noticed that it made references to individuals who are still "players" in the development of the case.

  3. This is worth buying the transcript for, Peter. I'd help spring for it. The travesty of the Hovind/Hansen defense is worthy of documenting in spades. These idiots have been hiding behind the ignorance of their followers for months.