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Jurors Watch Abortion Doctor Video

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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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“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.

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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).

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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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.

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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?

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

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Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

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2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
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5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

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