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James Pendergraft: "I Am Not A Criminal"

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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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

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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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The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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