By Editorial Staff
Published January 30, 2001
By Frank Stanfield, Sentinel Correspondent
OCALA — Did an abortion doctor’s adviser agree to become the “fall guy” in a federal case accusing the doctor and the adviser of extortion? Or were both guilty of trying to extract a payoff from Marion County in return for keeping a women’s clinic out of the conservative community?
“Absolutely not,” Dr. James Scott Pendergraft said of the “fall guy” question.
“Are you looking for the truth?” the doctor fired back at Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux during his second day of testimony in federal court Monday.
Devereaux pulled out the Orlando doctor’s business records and noted that Pendergraft’s consultant, Michael Spielvogel of Orlando, was receiving $2,400 per month for his services until April 1999. That’s when Pendergraft realized that the real estate broker was being questioned by the FBI.
And then payments to Spielvogel shot up to $4,500 per month, according to records.
It was mere coincidence, the doctor said.
Spielvogel had built up additional expenses by that time, and was even owed a brokerage fee for one of the five clinics Pendergraft operates, including two in Orlando, he said.
It’s the Ocala Women’s Center, however, that is the center of the doctor’s trial, in which he and Spielvogel are accused of making false sworn statements and filing a potentially costly lawsuit to try to force County Commission Chairman Larry Crutel to pay them off to leave the area.
Pendergraft didn’t know it, but Crutel was wired for sound by the FBI.
Crutel was trying to trap him with words like “payoff”’ and “extortion,” Pendergraft testified.
Quoting from one transcript of the recordings, he pointed out that the Marion County chairman asked him if he wanted the money “in a brown paper bag.”
Under questioning by his attorney, Larry Colleton, Pendergraft cited parts of the transcript that showed him insisting the proposed sale of the clinic was a “straight business deal.”
Pendergraft testified Friday that when he went to a March 1999 conference with a lawyer for Marion County, he had no idea his then-lawyer Roy Lucas and Spielvogel would be demanding big bucks in damages to settle a pending lawsuit.
Pendergraft has insisted that the legal action was taken to push protesters away from his clinic and to get local government officials to provide off-duty police officers to guard his practice on Pine Street.
Spielvogel has become a fall guy during the trial, saying the doctor did nothing wrong. The real-estate broker even confessed that he pretended to receive a threatening phone call from Crutel so that Pendergraft would decide not to open a clinic in Ocala.
Today, jurors in federal Judge Terrell Hodges’ courtroom will hear closing arguments. Then, they will decide whether Pendergraft and Spielvogel are guilty of conspiring to commit extortion, mail fraud and making false statements. If convicted, each could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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