Rudy Davis issued a press release on February 2 via the “Christian News Wire.” Today, a website called the “New American” proceeded to regurgitate the talking points. Here we go with the deconstruction. The article will be in green font:
Pastor Kent Hovind, a powerful advocate of biblical creationism who has already served almost 100 months in federal prison as part of what his supporters say amounts to a ruthless government campaign of religious persecution,
Kent Hovind was convicted of 12 counts of failing to pay income and Social Security taxes for his employees, 45 counts of structuring (a charge usually reserved for drug dealers and terrorists) and one count of obstructing the IRS. The trial transcripts, sentencing hearing and other documents related to this 2006 case (with the exception of the appellate decision) can be found at this link.
is now potentially facing up to 100 years behind bars. As federal prosecutors prepare to make their case for keeping Dr. Hovind incarcerated for the rest of his natural life, however, a growing grassroots campaignacross America is demanding that he be set him free — and that those responsible for allegedly railroading him be held accountable, including potentially the judge, who has developed a reputation among those following the case as having a strong anti-Christian bias.
I think the most appropriate way to deal with this is to quote Judge M. Casey Rodgers, from Hovind’s sentencing (pages 105-106):
All right. Let me make a few things clear before I impose sentence in the case. First, I want you all to understand and be clear on the fact that this case is not and has never been about religion. It was Mr. Hovind, not the government, who injected religion into this case during this trial.
Moreover, the charges in this case (tax evasion, structuring and obstruction of the IRS) do not contain an element that says “you must be a born-again, on fire Christian to be convicted of this offense. And, finally, Bekah Horton, the namesake of Christian homeschooling book publisher A Beka Book, took the stand against Kent Hovind at the 2006 and testified against him.
The alleged anti-Christian bias from Judge Rodgers comes from her handling of a case entitled Does v School Board For Santa Rosa County, Florida (link is to the amended consent decree from 2011. It should be noted that the school district originally entered into a negotiated consent decree without a trial in 2008. In 2009, there were reports the consent decree was violated and there were some court hearings to determine if school officials had violated its terms, which resulted in the above-linked consent decree. No trial was ever held.
With the IRS now embroiled in escalating scandal surrounding politically motivated attacks against conservatives and Tea Party groups, analysts say Hovind’s case is now especially important and ought to be probed by Congress.
Red herring. Hovind’s case has nothing to do with the alleged IRS scandal.
There are also a number of irregularities in every step of the process that resulted in the pastor landing behind bars, his supporters say. Meanwhile, the Justice Department attorney who secured Hovind’s original conviction was arrested for attempting to rape a child shortly after he won the case against the pastor.
The assistant U.S. attorney on the case was Michelle Heldmyer. She tried the case in front of the jury. The rapist was assistant U.S. attorney J.D. Roy Atchison. He filed exactly two documents in the case, numbers 209 (6/26/2007) and 211 (6/28/2007) on the docket of the Kent and Jo Hovind trial, which can be found here: http://www.hovindology.com/?page_id=4 . Number 211 was a withdrawal of number 209. So Atchison’s involvement in the 2006 Hovind case was virtually nil. On top of that, Atchison wasn’t arrested until September 16, 2007, which is months after Kent went to prison. (Atchison committed suicide on October 5, 2007, obviously before he could be tried.)
Critics of the prosecution cite that, and other facts, as further evidence that Hovind was targeted for his beliefs and his effectiveness in challenging the evolution theory and other key elements of the secular faith, rather than for actual tax violations.
If this were true, then why isn’t Ken Ham, head of Answers in Genesis and the promoter of the Creation Museum, not in prison?
Dr. Hovind’s original case, which resulted in the first 10-year prison sentence, had raised eyebrows nationwide long before the latest twist in the ordeal. After going through three grand juries to finally get a trial,
Hovind was under investigation by the IRS long before his home and place of employment were raided in April 2004. He and his wife were indicted in July 2006. It should be noted that grand jury terms are for 18 months. It is entirely possible that multiple grand juries could have sat during the investigation period. Additionally, it would be a breach of grand jury secrecy and a violation of the law for there to be a leak about how many grand juries had heard the Hovind case.
with a judge whom critics said displayed blatant hostility against Christians,
See above for how ridiculous this is.
Hovind was convicted of a number of “financial crimes.” Taxation-focused analyst Peter Reilly, following the case in Forbes, suggested Hovind may have followed bad advice from a “tax protester.”
Hovind has a long history as a tax protester. Agent M.C. Powe testified in 2006 that after she seized vehicles from Kent Hovind in 1996 to make up a tax arrearage for the years 1989-1994, she was sued at least three times by Hovind. (See trial transcript volume 2 for Powe’s testimony.)
In 1998, both Kent and Jo Hovind signed a sovereign citizen style document attempting to revoke their signatures and claimed (as in original): “I/WE ARE NOT A U.S. CITIZEN, NOT RESIDING ON ANY FEDERAL TERRITORY,” which is standard sovereign citizen lingo. Another Sovereign citizen “tell” are the references to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). In the 1998 document, Hovind references UCC sections 2-608, 1-103, and 1-207.
Daniel Nelson, a former employee of Creation Science Evangelism, also testified that Joe Sweet taped a video at CSE about taxes (trial transcript, volume 3, pages 78 ff). Nelson testified (with sidebars omitted):
Q. At some point in time, prior to January of 1998, did you attend a videotaping event?
A. Prior to ’98?
Q. Prior to 1998. Let me throw out a name and see if this means anything to you. Joe Sweet.
A. Yes, I know Joe Sweet.
Q. Did Joe Sweet give any talks or lectures at CSE?
Q. What was the subject matter of his talks or lectures?
A. I think it was Good News, was the title of the speech.
Q. What was the subject matter?
A. Taxes. (page 78)
(skipping to page 80)
Q. Mr. Nelson, we were talking about this tape recording of Joe Sweet. Do you have an approximate time frame for this particular tape recording?
A. No. You threw me off when you said it was prior to ’98,because I don’t remember it being before I even came there.
Q. You don’t remember one way or another?
Q. All right. Tell me about the circumstances — before you tell me about what Mr. Sweet was saying, tell me about the circumstances surrounding the taping, who was there, who was doing the taping, where was it.
A. It was on the gazebo at the headquarters. Mr. Sweet wanted a video copy. We had the equipment to be able to do that for him, and Mr. Hovind offered to allow the recording to happen so that he could have it for his own ministry. Several of — friends and family and stuff like that were invited, just so that there would be an audience for audience shots.
Q. Who actually did the videotaping?
A. I don’t know
Q. Was Mr. Hovind in attendance?
A. I don’t know the answer to that.
Q. How about Mrs. Hovind?
A. I believe Mrs. Hovind was there.
Q. And you were there?
A. I was there.
Q. Any of the other people who worked there at CSE?
A. I don’t remember.
Q. Do you know how big an audience there was?
A. I would doubt that it was probably more than 10, 12 people.
Q. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Nelson. I was asking about generally the subject matter of the lecture that Mr. Sweet gave that was recorded.
A. It was about taxes.
Q. And what position was Mr. Sweet taking on taxes?
A. That it was not necessary to pay them.
Note that title, Good News. In 2002, the United States got an injunction which states the following:
4. Both EDM and Sweet (either individually or doing business thorugh any entity) and their representatives, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and others acting in concert with any of the, are immediately and permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly:
(a) Organizing, promoting, marketing, or selling the tax shelter, plan or arrangement entitled “GOOD NEWS for FORM 1040 Filers: Your Compliance is Strictly Voluntary! BAD NEWS for the IRS! Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Income Tax That the IRS Is Afraid You’ll Find Out” or any other abusive tax shelter, plan, or arrangement that incites taxpayers to attempt to violate the internal revenue laws of the United States or unlawfully evade the assessment or collection of federal tax liability; [emphasis added]
Also, Joe Sweet is currently a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for (as the appellate opinion put it):
conspiracy to defraud the United States by advocating the intentional disruption of the assessment, ascertainment and collection of federal income tax, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Defendant Sweet was also convicted of corrupt interference with internal revenue laws, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a), and two counts of criminal contempt, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401(3).
The evidence is quite clear that Kent Hovind is a tax protester and sovereign citizen. He believes he does not have to pay any taxes, nor does he believe he has to obtain any building permits. (See Pensapedia for a long fight Hovind had with the city of Pensacola over a permit for Dinosaur Adventure Land.)
Hovind, though, has consistently maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, and growing numbers of supporters across America agree with him. Even if he was in fact guilty of the charges, which Hovind and his supporters deny, critics of the prosecution and court case have been pointing out that the average jail time for those convicted of tax-related crimes in 2013 was 14 months. Many simply pay a fine.
As just noted, Joe Sweet is currently serving a 10 year sentence. Another friend of Kent Hovind’s, named Lindsey Springer, is also a guest of the Bureau of Prisons until 2023 due to tax evasion.
Obama ally and race-monger Al Sharpton, for example, who still owes millions in back taxes, has visited the White House dozens of times in recent years. Timothy “TurboTax” Geithner, who failed to pay his taxes despite signing an agreement indicating that he needed to and understood that, was even selected to be Obama’s Treasury Secretary. Democrat Representative Charlie Rangel, who for years served as the chairman of the congressional committee in charge of writing the federal tax code, came under major fire after failing to pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owned in the Dominican Republic. As of September 2013, over 318,000 federal employees owed some $3.3 billion in back taxes. Not one of them is in prison for failure to pay.
Al Sharpton has been on my “list” since the late 1980s due to his activities in the Tawana Brawley case. As for the rest of the people, note that Hovind was convicted of failing to pay taxes and Social Security for his employees. (Hovind claims they were not employees, but testimony at the trial showed they punched a clock and got vacation and sick time, which is not the hallmark of contractors.) He deliberately denied his employees their statutory right to have their employer pay into the Social Security fund. In order to get Social Security, you have to work 40 quarters. Hovind’s employees may have been denied up to 12 quarters of payment by their employer into the fund. Hovind’s people like to claim the crime is victimless–I don’t think so.
However, Pastor Hovind, often referred to as “Dr. Dino” due to his passion for dinosaurs, has been behind bars in 20 different prisons for over eight years so far on seemingly far less serious charges — and could remain there until death if prosecutors and the judge get their way. The latest charges surround an effort Hovind made from prison to contest the liens that were allegedly improperly placed on his ministry’s property by the federal government. He is being accused of “contempt of court” and alleged “mail fraud” for using the prison mail system to fight back against having the ministry’s assets seized by filing what has been described as a notice that litigation on the property was ongoing.
The facts are that as a result of the 2006 trial, the property making up CSE, DAL and the Hovind home was seized to make up the partial money judgment of $430,400 assessed. Since the amount of cash seized did not total the amount owed, the government got permission to take the property. The property has been owned by the US government since 2009. All Hovind has been doing by having his friends file liens and by himself filing the lis pendens is put off the inevitable. It should also be noted that both Kent and Jo Hovind have been found liable for over $3 million in personal income tax due and owing for 1998-2004. (He really does believe he doesn’t owe anyone any taxes.)
Please note that until the government presents its evidence, I can’t judge whether Kent Hovind is innocent or guilty of what he’s been charged with. For all we know, the prosecution may not be able to prove all the elements of the charges of mail fraud.
The upcoming case to determine Hovind’s fate was supposed to take place next week, but has again been postponed by officials, this time until March, due to “family issues.”
Do you want to say that to the face of the assistant U.S. attorney who requested the extension? I doubt it.
“We need bold Christians to make a statement,” said Rudy Davis, a friend of Pastor Hovind who speaks with him daily and is working to raise awareness of what he says is relentless government persecution against Dr. Dino. “Mainstream media is ignoring Dr. Kent’s case…. We desperately need to speak up now.” According to Davis, who describes himself as a Bible-believing follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spiritual answer for why Hovind is being persecuted boils down to this: “Kent was exposing Satan’s kingdom and Satan’s deceptions.” Numerous Hovind supporters, including popular firebrand Reverend James David Manning and Southern Baptist leader Reverend Wiley Drake, have expressed similar sentiments, indicating that Hovind is indeed being persecuted.
This is obviously fact-free. As noted above, young earth creationist Ken Ham is not in jail nor facing tax evasion charges.
“I along with so many others are deeply grieved in our hearts when we hear that they are trying to keep Kent Hovind in prison for the remainder of his life as people were looking forward to him being released in 2015,” Davis, one of Hovind’s most passionate supporters, told The New American. “I truly believe this is an innocent man in prison and a POW (Prisoner of War) in the spiritual warfare of Good vs Evil. God will get the glory in Kent’s case no matter what. As you may know, Kent will not compromise with the devil and has maintained his innocence the entire 99 months that he has been incarcerated…. We are asking that you educate yourself and take whatever action God leads on behalf of our brother in the Lord, Kent Hovind.”
Another fact-free paragraph of full of emotion from Rudy Davis.
In an e-mail to The New American about why the federal government would persecute Hovind, Davis pointed to a video where the pastor explores some of the horrifying atrocities perpetrated under cover of the evolution theory. Hovind, a former science teacher, firmly rejects the theory as an attack on the Bible and the Christian faith. For years, he traveled the nation exposing flaws in school textbooks on the issue. In the introduction to the video, Pastor Hovind declares that the evolution theory is “not only dumb, it’s dangerous.” Prior to being thrown in prison, the pastor was among the nation’s leading advocates for creation science. His seminars and debates against evolutionists had been viewed countless times online by people around the world, and supporters say he was quickly changing hearts and minds.
And this has nothing to do with neither the 2006 nor the 2015 trials.
Then, the federal government launched its campaign to lock him up on tax charges. The first 12 counts surrounded Hovind’s alleged failure to withhold taxes from employees of his Christian ministry. “First of all, we didn’t have any employees,” Hovind explained in a recorded interview posted on YouTube, adding that all the missionaries and volunteers were independent contractors responsible for their own tax filings. “Churches are not obligated to withhold anyway, and I showed all the laws in a 2005 affidavit.” He also said he asked the IRS what he should do. The agency never responded, until showing up to arrest him with a heavily armed SWAT team in what critics say was extreme overkill — to put it mildly, considering that his wife was dragged out of bed at gunpoint and not even allowed to get dressed. One video urging Hovind’s release cited 20 attacks on the pastor that “North Korea would welcome.”
The 20 arguments have been thoroughly deconstructed at the following link: http://www.hovindology.com/?p=35 . Hovind was found to be an employer, and required to withhold income and Social Security taxes, which he deliberately did not do.
The second set of charges involved “structuring,” which, as Hovind put it in the online interview, “I had never heard of,” just like the overwhelming majority of Americans. Essentially, the controversial statute in question — written primarily for drug dealers and organized crime syndicates, not churches or pastors — makes it a crime to take out over $10,000 per day from a bank account in multiple rounds, if the intent is to prevent the creation of federally mandated records used for spying on Americans’ financial activities in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Hovind says he did no such thing.
“After trial, the judge changed the jury instructions and told the jury ‘if you find out that the Hovinds took out less than $10,000, you have to find them guilty,’ which is not what the law says,” Hovind explained from prison, suggesting that the judge misled the jury.
No, Kent Hovind is misleading the readers. Quoting directly from the federal jury instruction manual regarding the crime of structuring, this is what has to be proven to be convicted of the crime of structuring. Note that no dollar amount is mentioned.
FIRST, that the defendant had knowledge of the currency transaction reporting requirements;SECOND, that the defendant knowingly and willfully [structured] or [assisted in structuring] or [attempted to structure] or [attempted to assist in structuring] a currency transaction;THIRD, that the purpose of the structured [or attempted] transaction was to evade the currency transaction reporting requirements of § 5313(a);FOURTH, that the defendant knew that structuring was unlawful; andFIFTH, that the structured transaction(s) involved one or more domestic financial institutions.
“The law says over $10,000. So the jury, of course, confused by all that, said, ‘yeah, they took out less than $10,000, that’s obvious.’” Then, using drug statutes, the Justice Department’s pedophile attorney on the case demanded that the church’s money be forfeited, and so sought to seize the ministry’s property under asset forfeiture schemes also designed for drug dealers and crime bosses.
Shortly after attempting to seize all of the ministry’s property, the U.S. government lawyer prosecuting Pastor Hovind was arrested by the FBI in a sting operation in Detroit for trying to have sex with a five-year-old child. Assistant U.S. Attorney John David “Roy” Atchison, after being charged with “enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity using the Internet,” “aggravated sexual abuse,” and “traveling across state lines to have sex with someone under the age of 12,” ended up committing suicide by hanging himself in jail.
As noted above, J.D. Roy Atchison filed two documents with the court, both after Hovind was incarcerated and the second was dropped. Atchison was arrested after Hovind went to prison and was not the assistant U.S. attorney trying the case.
The other assistant U.S. attorney on Hovind’s case, Michelle Heldmyer, was in the news in the early 1990s after her husband was reportedly found to be on the same mailing list for obscene pornography as a judge who killed himself after getting caught.
Ms. Heldmyer was cleared of all charges with regards to this incident involving her husband. See: http://www.dol.gov/ecab/decisions/1998/Jul/96-2291.htm
The final charge against Hovind, according to critics of the prosecution and the court, is also perhaps the most outlandish. According to prosecutors, Hovind allegedly “threatened” an IRS agent while the agent was doing his “duty.” The name of the agent and the nature of the threat have never been publicly revealed, but Hovind thinks he might know. “The only thing we could figure out, there was never anything on that, other than that I prayed for the guy on the radio after they raided the ministry,” Hovind said inthe interview from jail posted on YouTube. “I was doing a radio program and I prayed for him, I said, ‘Lord, I’m your child, I want you to handle this’.” Hovind says he was essentially given three additional years in prison for praying on the radio.
Testimony in court showed that Hovind sued agent Powe at least three times, and he also sued Special Agent Schneider a number of times. After his conviction, Hovind told a caller the following regarding Schneider:
11/16/06 3:02 PM [00:45]
Unk: (?doing a) good job.
Kent: I think there’s real close to a zero chance they’re going to come seize anything.
Kent: That’s what all the attorneys say too. They could, there’s zero chance that they could do it legally.
Unk: Oh, yeah.
Kent: Can they do it actually? Well, look at what they’ve done so far. But obviously, yeah. About the only thing we’ve got going for us is that Scott Schneider, who is a bit afraid that I will sue him.
Kent: And I will!
Kent: I’ll do it again! [chuckles]
Kent: And the rest of his life, if he doesn’t start obeying the law, I’m going to haunt him the rest of his life.
Unk: I hope you do.
Kent: Just keep, he needs to obey the law. He’s got a badge. OK. So what? You know..
Kent: Obey the law then.
Kent: I don’t want to fight these guys. I don’t want to fight ‘em.
Kent: They won’t leave me alone. What can I do? [01:27]
This can be found on the following YouTube video “Kent Hovind – County Jail Telephone Calls” from 00:45 to 01:27.
While the prosecution was suspicious enough to critics, Hovind supporters also say U.S. District Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers improperly played a crucial role in helping the Justice Department lock Hovind away. Across the Internet, websites and videos dedicated to freeing Hovind declare the judge to have a strong “anti-Christian bias.” Among other evidence, they point to a 2009 case in which the judge threatened two school officials with prison time for saying a prayer before a meal at an athletic banquet.
See above for the consent decrees entered in the Santa Rosa School District case.
In Hovind’s trial, meanwhile, the judge was accused in multiple sworn affidavits by witnesses to have declared the pastor’s alleged crimes to be “worse than rape.”
Let’s talk about those affidavits for a moment: They are from:
Theresa Schneider – 04/13/2008
John W. Gusti – 04/11/2008
Kent Andrew Hovind – 04/11/2008
Katie Rudolph – Dated 4/5/2008, Notarized 04/11/2008
Jo Hovind – Dated 4/10/2008, Notarized 04/11/2008
The notary for all of these is a Diane K. Hummel. The Theresa Schneider affidavit was notarized on 4/13/2008, while the other four were notarized on 4/11/2008. There is one other document in the file, which is an e-mail from Greg Dixon, not an affidavit and its significance will become clear in a moment.
None of these affiants have been cross-examined in court. We only know about two of them. One of them is Jo Hovind, who was convicted along with Kent in the 2006 case. Kent A. Hovind is Kent and Jo’s son and he worked for the family business. The other three could be friends, employees, who knows?
It appears, from the Greg Dixon e-mail, that these affidavits were being specifically collected and were to be sent to a Lindsey Springer. That would be the same tax evader Lindsey Springer who currently in prison until 2023, as discussed above.
Moreover, this language doesn’t appear in the contemporaneous reporting of the Pensacola News-Journal, nor in the post put up by Christian blogger Jen Fishburne.
Even more troubling, perhaps, is that the transcripts were allegedly altered to remove the outlandish jury-influencing statement,
Ah, now we have a new accusation–the statement was made before the jury. Previous to now, it had been said that Judge Rodgers made it at the sentencing, which was on January 19, 2007. Kent Hovind was convicted on November 2, 2006 and the jury had been long dismissed by then. So there was no prejudice to the jury.
and the audio transcript has still not been released despite repeated requests, according to supporters.
The trial was nearly nine years ago. Hovind and his attorney had every opportunity to review the transcript and make objections to its content at the time it was released.
Pastor Hovind, who still sounds upbeat and full of joy in phone interviews posted online, despite spending over eight years in federal prison, thinks a proper inquiry would be appropriate — and that a definite judgment will come eventually, even if it’s in the next life. “I welcome a full investigation before Congress,” said Hovind, who has always been open about his refusal to accept 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS because he believes it unconstitutionally interferes with his right to speak freely. “There will be a full investigation before God one of these days.”
Fact-free bloviations from a man convicted by a jury of his peers and incarcerated.
With Hovind set to be back in court next month on charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, supporters are encouraging Christians and all Americans to take action. Among other options, Hovind’s friend Davis urged people to pray, watch Hovind’s videos on YouTube, get educated about the case, sign petitions, donate to and support the Free Kent Hovind movement, write to or even visit Hovind in prison in the Florida panhandle, and educate others on the case. Other supporters are urging Americans to contact their elected representatives about the case and demand a thorough, impartial investigation. More information on the whole ordeal from Hovind supporters can be found at www.FreeKentHovind.com and www.2Peter3.com.
I’d urge people to educate themselves here on http://www.hovindology.com before falling for these arguments.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more.
Dee Holmes is a systems support analyst for a financial institution. She holds a B.A. in government from The University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center.
For further information:
mirele at sonic dot net