The Pensacola News Journal reports that the jury has been selected and the trial started today. I find Hovind's defense really funny in light of his history. He claims that he was completely ignorant of the law and didn't know what the IRS requirements were, but in the past he has railed about the illegality of the income tax and filed frivolous lawsuits against the IRS (all of which were thrown out) and actually filed bankruptcy to avoid an earlier IRS case against him. He knows exactly what the law says and has ranted about how unfair it is, he certainly can't claim ignorance of it now.
Hovind may refer to his employees' wages as "love offerings," but doesn't the IRS set limits on how much love one may offer each year? Besides, the prosecutor noted that churches still must pay payroll taxes
So now he's lying for Jesus.
In Hovind's world, ignorance is often translated as "willfull ignorance." Scientists don't know how old the earth is because they don't WANT to know how old the earth is. People who reject the plain truth of the Bible don't WANT to know the plain truth. Faith itself is often a game played with counters of wanting to believe and being willfully ignorant of Satan's side.
Perhaps he's playing some odd little verbal or conceptual trick with the court -- or even with himself -- by conflating "ignorance" with "willfull ignorance," and thinking they are really just the same thing.
He is about to get a whole lot of love from Uncle Sam, the IRS and his fellow citizens... about 5-10 years worth of love if he plays his cards right!
This could be a very amusing trial, if he sticks to his "I am not a US Citizen argument!
I hope Make Argtento from Dover chimes in on it too.
I think Mr. Hovind has, on the evidence, a defensible claim of ignorance with respect to very nearly any thing he has expressed an opinion about.
I have two guys working for me, and when I write their paychecks we call it their "pizza and beer money," but they still pay taxes on it.
I guess we need to call ourselves the "church" of pizza and beer to get on Hovind's side of the law.
Wow. This trial looks to be enormously entertaining. And even just this one first article is full of gems.
I like the "well the IRS sure took their sweet time" argument the defendants apparently make a go at. It appears when the IRS is not actively investigating Hovind, they're abdicating their duty and should be "informing" Hovind how he is breaking the law more quickly; but when they ARE actively investigating him, they're "harrassing" him and he has every right to resist.
I particularly like this bit:
Richey said IRS agents stepped outside their authority that day, interrogating employees and confiscating records and money.
Huh. I wonder what the IRS' authority is.
And the juxtoposition of these two lines is kinda amusing in its own way:
"For the government, it's OK if they're extreme," he said.
He called Hovind a literalist who takes every word of the Bible as truth.
By the way, did anyone notice the comments attached to the article? A couple of Hovind supporters come out of the woodwork and it's fascinating. For example, one of them berates the reporter for not "getting her facts straight", because she asserted Hovind filed bankruptcy to avoid paying taxes (as the findings of fact in the bankruptcy court case concluded), whereas "in reality", the poster says, Hovind filed bankruptcy to "get their vehicles back that the government had seized" (I assume this to be Hovind's version of events).
Article on day two:
Note to self, when trying for a tax dodger's defense, don't send out "Memos to Employee's"