Kent Hovind after 9 years in prison
Embattled evangelist Kent Hovind took the witness stand today to defend himself from federal charges of fraud and contempt.
Hovind – who has attained a degree of celebrity for debating against the theories of evolution and an “old” Earth – used his time on the stand to argue the validity of the charges against him and his perceived persecution at the hands of the government.
In a series of tense exchanges with his attorney, Hovind refused to give short answers to questions about his 2006 conviction for structuring funds and failing to withhold employee wage taxes. Instead, he prefaced all of his responses with details he perceived to be relevant, including admonishments of the government, references to scripture and verbatim readings of pertinent legal documents.
When asked to keep his answers brief, Hovind responsed the most expedient way to end the trial was to throw out the charges against him.
“I’m threatened with 100 years (in prison),” Hovind said. “I want to go through every document that’s been presented. The jury is not going to go through all that. They’re just going to vote guilty or not guilty.”
Hovind and his co-defendant Paul John Hansen are facing a six-count indictment for mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and contempt of court. The government alleges they filed fraudulent documents disputing the ownership of property Hovind was forced to forfeit following his previous conviction.
In his testimony, Hovind said he believed all of his actions were lawful and that he had never conspired with Hansen to commit any dishonest act.
Hovind will be cross examined by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Eggers this afternoon.