This post was originally published on Forbes Mar 12, 2015
Kent Hovind, Independent Baptist minister and proponent of Young Earth Creationism, has been on trial in the federal district court in Pensacola. The charges relate to actions taken in response to government seizure of property. The seizure was a result of his conviction in 2006 for structuring, the systematic withdrawal of amounts somewhat less than $10,000 to avoid currency reporting requirements. His codefendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism which held title to the seized property.
The indictment charged them with fraud and contempt of court for the filing of a lis pendens, a notice of pending litigation, to warn buyers of Hovind and CSE's continuing claim on the seized property. Hovind was pursuing a lawsuit against prison official who he claimed had interfered with his appeal of the original conviction. Hovind hoped, probably still hopes, to have the original conviction reversed and the property returned to him.
The government presented its case last week and this Monday. It was largely based on documents. The most dramatic moments last week were when Hovind's son Eric was called by the prosecution to testify and a person who bought one of the properties from the federal government testified about harassment. Hansen gave extensive testimony Monday and Hovind on Tuesday. The government and defense gave their summaries yesterday and the jury began deliberating early yesterday afternoon. The jury was unable to reach a verdict yesterday and was sent home and told by the judge to get a good night's sleep.
I just heard from Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media and freelance journalist Ben Sheffler that the jury has reached a verdict. On the six count indictment, Hovind was found guilty on count three, which only applied to him - violating a court order to not interfere with title to the property.
Hansen was found guilty on counts five and six, which only related to him - violating a court order to Creation Science Evangelism to refrain from further filings in relation the property and resisting a grand jury subpoena. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the more serious fraud charges against Hovind . Hansen was found not guilty on one of the fraud charges (count two) with the jury not reaching a verdict on the other fraud charge (Counts 1 and 4).
Here is Rudy Davis, one of the most zealous of Hovind's supporters reacting to the verdict.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 12.
The sentiment from Hovind's supporters, who one last time filled the courtroom, was that while the guilty verdict for count three is disappointing, the rest of the outcome was a victory.
One of Hovind's more dedicated supporters, Rudy Davis, also said it was a miraculous victory.
"I think the Lord God Almighty worked in a mighty way here," he said. "They threw their best lawyers, they had five days of prosecution, they read hundreds of documents, hundreds of emails, voicemails they had sequestered, everything they could throw at the man."
While Davis said the court was against Hovind, he maintained that the fight to correct the perceived injustice against Hovind will continue.
"I believe this entire court was slanted against Kent Hovind, and I don't think anything's going to stick that happened today," he said. "We're never going to give this up; we're going to keep making noise and shining light."
More extensive coverage of the trial can be found on Your Tax Matters Partner.
An earlier version misstated the charge in Count 4, on which the jury failed to reach a verdict for either Hovind or Hansen.
Kent Hovind and Jo Hovind v USA - IRS has a copy of the final order from the trial. On count three of the indictment the jury was to separately find whether Kent had violated each of two court orders, one issued in 2007 and the other in 2012. The jury found that Kent had violated the earlier order, but not the later. Here is a link to the order.