The Pensacola News Journal reports…
“The government continued to make its case Friday against two “men of God” accused of violating federal laws during a legal battle for $430,400 in forfeited Pensacola property.
Evangelist Kent Hovind and his ministry’s trustee, Paul John Hansen, are facing a six-count indictment for mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and contempt. The charges stem from allegations that the men violated a court injunction barring Hovind and his agents from filing claims on land Hovind was forced to forfeit to pay a tax debt from a 2006 felony conviction.
During the Hovind and Hansen joint trial in Pensacola this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Eggers presented a lengthy paper trail of emails, recorded phone calls, court filings and other media to demonstrate the defendants’ continued jostling for the property. With Scott Schneider, an agent of the Internal Revenue Service, on the stand to provide the timeline and context of the information, Eggers exhibited dozens of documents from Hovind and Hansen during the first three days of trial.
The evidence included excerpts from a blog Hovind maintained from prison. In a late December 2013 blog post, roughly 18 months after the government’s injunction was granted, Hovind’s blog detailed how a cellmate, Alex Matthews, helped him file additional court documents.
“In May, the IRS was threatening (again) to sell the ministry property putting the family in a panic (again),” he wrote. “Alex helped me file a ‘lis pendens’ which stops all action on the property until the S.C. lawsuit is resolved.”
The referenced South Carolina lawsuit was based on Hovind’s allegations that corrections personnel deliberately delayed delivering court documents to him, causing him to miss a deadline in appealing his 2006 conviction and sentence. A defense attorney said Hovind was convinced he would win the suit, creating a domino effect where the judgment against him would be overturned and he would regain his Pensacola property. His lawsuit was ultimately dismissed
Hovind’s attorney, Thomas Keith, said that his client had made no attempts to hide his actions to regain the properties and had believed he was operating in the confines of the law.
Keith is expected to begin Hovind’s defense next week. Hansen is expected to offer a “hybrid” defense in which he represents himself with assistance from attorney Christopher Klotz.
A group of steadfast Hovind supporters has been inside and outside the courtroom throughout the proceedings. Many have expressed concerns over the fairness of the trial, including complaints they have not been allowed to take notes in the courtroom and that the presiding judge, M. Casey Rodgers, and Schneider played key roles in Hovind’s previous trial and conviction.
The trial is scheduled to continue through the majority of next week.”