By Editorial Staff
Published July 7, 2000
The Lawyer For The Abortion Provider Said The Federal Case Is “All About Abortion”
By Lynne Bumpus-Hooper of The Sentinel Staff
OCALA — An abortion doctor said Thursday that he is innocent of federal extortion charges, and one of his attorneys said the fight is “all about abortion.”
Dr. James Pendergraft and his former business partner, Michael Spielvogel, appeared in federal court to enter not-guilty pleas to charges of extortion, mail fraud and scheming to defraud the government. Both are free pending trial.
In a news conference before the hearing, Pendergraft said all he wants to do is go on with life as usual.
“I am not a criminal,” he said.
The two were indicted last month by a federal grand jury on the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and nearly $1 million in fines. Spielvogel faces two additional charges of lying to FBI agents and knowingly making false statements.
But Jacob Rose, a West Palm Beach attorney representing Pendergraft, said the doctor was targeted because he runs five clinics that provide abortions in Florida, including two in Orlando and one in Ocala.
Rose and Pendergraft said Ocala was a hostile atmosphere from the moment the Ocala Women’s Clinic opened two years ago.
“This is all about abortion. You know that,” Rose said after the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Gary Jones.
The indictment alleges the two men made false statements about threats directed at them. The government contends the two were trying to extort money from Marion County through a settlement of a civil suit they had filed.
But Rose said the two men were only seeking protection for their patients.
“He wanted free access to the clinic for his patients, security and no harassment. He wasn’t after money,” Rose said of Pendergraft.
Pendergraft filed the lawsuit against anti-abortion demonstrators in December 1998 asking that they be kept back from his facility. The suit also named law enforcement and asked for measures to increase security at the clinic.
The federal indictment says Spielvogel lied about a telephone conversation with Larry Cretul, a Marion County commissioner. Spielvogel said Cretul made threats that scared him. He reported those threats to Pendergraft and the FBI.
The threats included references to two former abortion clinics in Ocala that had burned, Spielvogel said.
Larry Colleton, Pendergraft’s other attorney, said this was the first U.S. case in which a doctor who provides abortions had faced such charges.
“It is unusual, unprecedented. I could find no cases that reflect this one in my research,” said Colleton, a former U.S. attorney.
The federal investigation has been ongoing for more than a year. The civil suit was dismissed earlier this year for lack of action, but after a preliminary injunction was granted last year granting some of Pendergraft’s requests for more security.
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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.”
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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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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.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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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?
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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