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.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
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
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
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.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)