This post was originally published on Forbes May 16, 2015
The retrial of Kent Hovind and Paul John Hansen on fraud and conspiracy charges was scheduled to commence on Monday in Pensacola. Last minute motions for a dismissal crafted with assistance from the United States Justice Foundation prompted the United States attorney to apply for a continuance, but Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers indicated that she would brook no delay. Much to the delight of Kent Hovind's supporters the Government has moved to dismiss the remaining counts of the indictment without prejudice.
Rudy Davis has deferred his interest in matters such as geocentrism and the illegitimacy of the Obama presidency to make his youtube channel LoneStar1776 "All Doc Dino, All The time" with more than daily calls from Kent Hovind at the Santa Rosa County Jail and much other material. Along with the website #FreeKent , Rudy and his wife Erin have been prime movers in a vigorous social media campaign in support of Hovindication which has as its goals not only dropping current charges against Kent Hovind, but a reversal of his 2006 structuring conviction, return of property seized from Creation Science Evangelism and Kent Hovind testifying before Congress on IRS abuse.
Hovindindicators tend to see the matter as the forces of darkness against the forces of light with the people involved in Kent's trial being altogether wicked.
Kent Hovind has been honing his narrative on a variety of extreme right evangelical/conspiracy platforms such, as Alex Jones, Pete Santilli and Dave Daubenmire. In his interview with Joyce Reilly on May 11 it boiled down to the IRS investigating him, presumably because of his work in exposing the lies of evolution, and being able to find nothing then trumping up the structuring charges - i.e. taking money out of the bank in amounts less than $10,000.
The current charges relate back to his 2006 conviction. Besides his ten year sentence, over $400,000 in structured funds were forfeited. Kent having no cash, property of Creation Science Evangelism, which was deemed an alter ego of Kent Hovind, was seized. Kent believes that his conviction will be reversed and on the advice of his real estate genius cellmate he filed a "Bivens claim" against prison officials who interfered with an appeal of his conviction. As a follow on to that he filed a "lis pendens" on some of the seized properties to warn buyers that the United States's title to the property was in dispute. That is the basis of his contempt of court charge, on which he was convicted in March, and the fraud and conspiracy charges.
Kent will often state that he is an innocent man who has not broken any laws and has paid every tax that he owes. Rudy Davis sums up the criminal prosecution as Kent Hovind getting ten years for taking his own money out of the bank and now being threatened with life in prison for mailing a letter.
Some Flaws In the Hovindication Narrative
It is clear that the IRS had reason to be interested in Kent Hovind independent of his teachings on evolution. In CSE 103 Class 6 Topic "Income tax", Kent indicated that he had not filed Form 1040 in 28 years and did not believe that there was any law that required him to. He gives a qualified endorsement to Irwin Schiff, perhaps the grandfather of most of the frivolous arguments that continue to clog the courts.
Although Kent insists that he is not a tax protester, much as he admires them, you can still here the tax protester rhetoric in some of his interviews as when he told me that the IRS is a Puerto Rican collection agency.
Also even though Kent was not charged with tax evasion, the investigation of his personal tax situation was not fruitless as it resulted in civil liability, confirmed by the Tax Court and the Eleventh Circuit, in excess of $3 million. Also his 2006 conviction was not just for structuring. There were twelve counts for not filing and paying payroll taxes on Creation Science Evangelism employees and one count of "corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws".
No Trial On Monday
It had been expected that the government's case would have moved more quickly this time than it did in March as Paul Hansen has stipulated to the authenticity of documents forgoing the need for testimony from notaries and fingerprint experts. Paul Hansen going pro se had promised to put on a defense based on territorial jurisdiction. Hansen believes that federal statute law only applies on land owned by the federal government unless they use one of their tricks that make you contract with the government, but he is wise to all that. Thanks to the work of the United States Justice Foundation, we won't get to see how Hansen's theories would have worked.
The Hovindicators had projected a much larger turnout both in front of and inside of the courtroom and there are some rumblings about counter-demonstrations by the militantly rational. Ernie Land, Kent Hovind's consigliere, based on conversations with jurors from the first trial, was encouraging the Hovinvidicators to take a positive loving tack in the streets with an emphasis on what a mensch Kent Hovind is. Now the word is going out for everybody to stay home.
Ernie points out what I agree was one of the serious weaknesses in the government's case. Due to his incarceration everything Kent has done has been in the open, so while it might be reasonable to have convicted him on contempt of court, it seems to be an uphill battle to argue for fraud and conspiracy. Apparently the government may have also reached that conclusion.
I have a team headed by Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media that had been geared up to be cover he trial, the events outside the courtroom and dig up more background on the story like this interview with Bill Caplinger who had a lot of contact with Kent Hovind while at the Universtiy of West Florida
Jonathan will be in court on Monday to report on the proceedings.
Hansen and Hovind are not out of the woods. They still face sentencing on the March contempt convictions.