After that snivelling lawyer, Tertulus, finished grovelling; and after the whimpering Jews finished acting like school-yard kids throwing unfounded accusations; Governor Felix turned to Paul and offered him an opening to present his defense.
With light-saber precision Paul cut their arguments to pieces. Fact and history always trump distorted truth and twisted evidence.
Was Paul a "pest" (v. 5)? He came "bringing alms" to the Jews (v.17).
Did he "stir up" the dissension in the crowds (v. 5)? They offered no evidence, whether private or public, of Paul even conversing with anyone.
Did Paul actually try to "desecrate the temple" (v. 6)? Those who claimed such weren't even there to testify (vv. 18–19).
Was he really a "ringleader of the sect" (v. 5)? He admitted to holding the same hope as his accusers, believing everything from Moses and the prophets (vv. 14–15).
One thing we learn from Paul (among many things) is that inflamatory rhetoric cannot stand in the face of calmly presented facts. Unfortunately for Paul, Felix focused on the "alms" part of Paul's defense. He continued to hold Paul, hoping his companions would bail him out with some of that money.
When they say that God works in mysterious ways; this was one of them. God protected Paul from the Jews and preserved him for Caesar by using a corrupt, bribe-seeking ruler to detain Paul in custody.
The plot thickens. Stay tuned.