By Editorial Staff
Published January 10, 2001
The FBI Secretly Recorded The Doctor And His Lawyer Threatening To Bankrupt Marion County In A Lawsuit
By Pedro Ruz Gutierrez of The Sentinel Staff
OCALA — Jurors in the attempted extortion trial of an Orlando abortion doctor watched a secretly recorded video on Tuesday showing him and his attorney talk about wrecking the finances of Marion County government with a lawsuit.
“We are going to go for a verdict of over $100 million,” said Roy Lucas, the attorney who filed the 1998 suit seeking police protection for Dr. James Scott Pendergraft’s newly opened abortion clinic. “They better come up with some money or they are going to get burned. We’ll try to bankrupt the county.”
“Not try. We will bankrupt the county,” said Pendergraft, raising his voice toward the end of the 69-minute video recorded by the FBI. “And I promise you that I’ll put a statue of myself that says Dr. Pendergraft brought freedom to Ocala.”
Pendergraft then added: “That will make Cretul shiver in his pants.”
County Chairman Larry Cretul had authored a 1997 letter asking Pendergraft to reconsider opening the Ocala clinic.
Cretul later went to the FBI, which secretly taped phone calls in which the doctor and his real-estate associate Michael Spielvogel offered to stay out of the county for payments ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.
Pendergraft and Spielvogel are accused of conspiring to extort, mail fraud and scheming to defraud. Spielvogel also faces charges of filing a false affidavit and lying to the FBI.
Lucas has not been charged. Prosecutors say Pendergraft and Spielvogel merely used him in their financial scheme.
The 1999 sting operation, facilitated by an attorney who represented Marion County at the time, is considered crucial by assistant U.S. attorneys, who say Pendergraft and Spielvogel lied about supposed threats made by Cretul. Virgil “Bill” Wright, an attorney representing Marion County and Cretul in the 1998 suit, testified on Tuesday that he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office after the FBI explained Cretul’s role and let him listen to tape recordings.
Taxpayers would have had to pick up the tab for any damage payments arising out of a lawsuit, Wright said.
Pendergraft and his lawyer won a preliminary court order that allowed off-duty police to guard Pendergraft’s clinic, but the complaint seeking damages was later dismissed by District Judge W. Terrell Hodges.
Hodges, who is also presiding at Pendergraft’s criminal trial, suspended testimony after lunch Tuesday after a juror fell outside the courthouse and was hospitalized with head injuries. It was not clear whether she could return.
The accident was the latest of several unusual incidents at the federal building, including two electrical blackouts during playback of the surveillance video and two more Friday. Hodges blamed a circuit breaker.
Defense attorney Jacob Rose fell in the dark on Friday and reinjured a knee. He is walking on crutches this week.
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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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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).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
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Running Time: 195 minutes
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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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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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