Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Filmmaker's View Of The Trials Of Kent Hovind

This post was originally published on Forbes Jun 9, 2015

Kent Hovind, who became famous in some circles for his teaching that there is scientific support for a hyper-literal reading of the Book of Genesis, that would put the age of the Earth at 6,000 years, nearing the end of a long prison sentence for tax-related crimes, including structuring, faced trial earlier this year.  The charges were contempt of court, mail fraud and conspiracy.  The charges related to actions by Hovind and his co-defendant Paul John Hansen to affect title to property that was seized as a result of Hovind's structuring conviction.

The prosecution sparked a vigorous social media campaign to "Free Kent Hovind".  The flagship website of the Hovindicators is #FreeKent.  Rudy Davis has turned his youtube channel - LoneStar1776 - into all Doc Dino all the time with regular call-ins from Doctor Hovind, interviews with supporters, weekly meetings of those dedicated to the cause and the occasional passionate jeremiad from Rudy Davis.

Kent Hovind, from Santa Clara County jail, where he was held awaiting trial made the rounds of right-wing conspiracy alternative media honing his message that he was an innocent man, who has paid all the taxes that he has owed, being subject to religious persecution.  Among his interviews was one on Alex Jones.

I had picked up the Kent Hovind story in the same way I pick up most stories - from a Tax Court decision.  I found that if I wanted to follow it, I had to watch a lot of video and listen to podcasts.  In part that is what motivated me to enlist the support of filmmaker Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media.  So now my youtube channel, with the uninspired title of Peter Reilly has a wealth of Kent Hovind related video.

Despite what the Hovindicators may believe about my connections to the New World Order, the purpose is to explore what I believe is a fascinating story that touches on important issues.  Personally, I believe that the government's second prosecution of Kent Hovind was overreach and counterproductive.  On the other hand, the Hovindication narrative, while partly true, has serious holes.

Jonathan Schwartz has overseen the project but if you dive into the material you will also see interviews by Dee Holmes, who has been blogging on Hovind, Steven Gray, a Pensacola photographer who studied under Doctor Hovind back in the day and aspiring journalist Abigal Megginson.  A couple of the videos are on Steven Gray's channel.

The Main Guys

Kent Hovind and Ernie Land, Kent's long time friend and adviser, have been interviewed many times, but frankly the only interviews I know of that challenge their narrative at all are the ones that I did early this year.

Here I am with Kent Hovind on the phone

And with Ernie Land

The Pensacola Scene

Jonathan sought to get an understanding of the story behind the story behind the story, interviewing Bill Caplinger, who got to know Kent Hovind while working at the Universtiy of West Florida interacting with professors who debated Kent Hovind and observing Kent supervising his staff demonstrating in front of a Pensacola abortion clinic where Caplinger served as a volunteer escort.

Rick Outzen talked about the religious scene in Pensacola.

Dinosaur Adventureland
Steven Gray was a student of Kent Hovind's.

Joshua Joscelyn , one of the few open Pensacola supporters of Doctor Hovind in his most recent trial, also worked for Creation Science Evangelism.

The March Trial
The scene outside the courthouse in March was colorful.

The real drama would be in the jury room and in videos released today Steven Gray and Jonathan draw the story from two jurors. Don Zehr, who thought Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen were guilty, as did the rest of the jurors, but one.
Don Camacho was the one, the hold-out, the right man in the right place at the right time to do the right thing as Kent Hovind supporters would see it.
Doctor Ward Dean, a mutual friend of Kent Hovind and Don Camacho, who had his own serious problems with the IRS, believes that Camacho played the role of American hero in the jury room.

Jonathan also interviewed Christopher Klotz, attorney for Paul Hansen, a trustee of Christian Science Evangelism who was also on trial.  Attorney Klotz paid no attention to the social media campaign and believes that once the trial began there were only twelve people whose opinion mattered.

The Second Trial That Was Canceled
The Government moved to dismiss the remaining counts of the indictment on the eve of a second trial in May.  Judge Rodgers, to no one's surprise allowed the government motion, but to the surprise of many and the delight of Hovindicators dismissed Kent Hovind's contempt conviction.  The scene outside the courtroom during those proceedings was not quite as colorful as it had been in March.

 Post Trial Analysis
Dee Holmes has been following the case for several months.  Although she now works in IT, she was trained as a lawyer and has some in depth analysis.

Dee also had a chat with Joshua Joscelyn, which was remarkably cordial.

Hopefully, this might be the beginning of a new era of decorous communication as we discuss the trials of Kent Hovind.


In a previous version I stated that Stephen Gray had gone on to work for Kent Hovind after having been a student of his.  This was an error on my part.  I had confused Stephen's interview with that of Daniel Johnson.

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