By Editorial Staff
Published January 25, 2001
By Rick Cundiff, Staff Writer, Ocala Star Banner
OCALA — From the witness stand Wednesday, Michael Spielvogel did his best to do what he said has always been his top priority in Ocala — protecting an innocent Dr. James Scott Pendergraft IV.
During the day, Spielvogel admitted he lied to Marion County Commissioner Larry Cretul about Pendergraft’s plans for an Ocala abortion clinic and about threats allegedly made by Cretul.
Spielvogel acknowledged that he faked the telephone call in which he repeated the threats Cretul allegedly made for Pendergraft to hear.
Spielvogel also testified he didn’t tell Pendergraft, Pendergraft’s lawyers, or even his own lawyer, that he faked that call until sometime in the past 16 days — after the federal trial had started in Ocala.
But he adamantly insisted Pendergraft didn’t know about his lies and that his co-defendant had done nothing wrong.
“I’m the scumbucket, dirtbucket, if you want to call it that,” Spielvogel said angrily. “If I go to prison and he goes free, that’s the right thing, if I did anything wrong.”
Spielvogel’s outburst, just before the trial recessed for the day, came after more than an hour of intense, aggressive questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux. Moments before, Devereaux had asked Spielvogel if he knew what it meant to “take the fall for somebody.”
Devereaux repeatedly quizzed Spielvogel about the faked phone call. Speaking loudly to overcome Spielvogel’s partial hearing loss, Devereaux’s tone was icy and frequently sarcastic.
Spielvogel called his picking up a telephone in Pendergraft’s office and repeating comments he alleged Cretul made to him a “re-enactment.”
“Was it a true-life re-enactment, like MacArthur’s return to the Philippines?” Devereaux asked. “Was this a faked re-enactment or a real re-enactment?”
Earlier in the day, Spielvogel admitted that Cretul did not make threats against Spielvogel’s wife or the clinic and did not mention an Alabama clinic bombing during a telephone call between the two men on Jan. 29, 1998.
Devereaux and Pendergraft attorney Jacob Rose sparred briefly near the start of Devereaux’s cross-examination. Rose objected twice to Devereaux’s habit of pointing with his arm toward Pendergraft as he questioned Spielvogel. The second time, Rose and Devereaux exchanged words briefly.
At that, Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges slammed his fist down on the bench.
“You will not address each other!” he declared loudly. “Your objection, Mr. Rose, is overruled. Sit down.”
Pendergraft and Spielvogel are charged with conspiring to extort millions of dollars from Marion County government by making fraudulent statements in a lawsuit Pendergraft filed in December 1998.
Pendergraft owns the Ocala Women’s Center on Pine Avenue and four other Florida clinics, which perform abortions.
The FBI began investigating Spielvogel and Pendergraft in October 1997, after Spielvogel called Cretul, shortly after the County Commissioners sent a one-paragraph letter to Pendergraft asking him to reconsider his plans to open the Ocala clinic.
In that call, Cretul testified, Spielvogel allegedly said the county could expect “violent protests and firebombings” if the Pine Avenue clinic opened but the problems could be avoided if the county bought the clinic property.
Cretul, at the FBI’s direction, taped subsequent phone calls between himself and Pendergraft or Spielvogel.
Spielvogel testified repeatedly Wednesday that his sole purpose in talking to Cretul was to try to persuade Pendergraft that the doctor shouldn’t open a clinic in Ocala.
“I was scared at the possibility of the clinic’s opening in Ocala and my wife going up there and Dr. Pendergraft’s safety and the staff’s safety,” he said. Spielvogel’s wife, Mary, is a clerical employee in Pendergraft’s Orlando clinic.
Pendergraft didn’t share his concerns, Spielvogel said.
“Dr. Pendergraft just shut me down,” he testified. “I told him I was scared about him going to Ocala, that I was scared for his staff going to Ocala.”
Around the time of the January 1998 telephone conversation between Spielvogel and Cretul, Spielvogel’s father was dying of cancer in Houston, Spielvogel said.
With the stress of his father’s pending death, the Birmingham clinic bombing and a comment from Cretul that he believed protest letters Pendergraft was receiving from area churches were “gonna be mild,” Spielvogel did feel threatened, he said.
“It was just a total buildup in my head of what was happening,” he said.
After that conversation with Cretul, Spielvogel called the FBI himself to ask to for protection from Cretul’s alleged threats. Later that evening, he went to the Orlando Women’s Center and made a brief telephone call from Pendergraft’s unoccupied office to a relative.
As Pendergraft entered the office, Spielvogel still had the phone in his hand. He began saying things as if he were talking to Cretul and repeating comments Cretul was making, loud enough for Pendergraft to hear.
Spielvogel later repeated his allegations in an affidavit filed in the lawsuit. Pendergraft filed a second affidavit saying he believed Spielvogel, because Spielvogel repeated the threats while he was on the phone with Cretul.
“I didn’t mean to deceive anybody on this affidavit,” Spielvogel said Wednesday. “I believed what I signed to be correct and true, as to my feelings.”
Attorney Roy Lucas, who has since disappeared, attempted to use those affidavits in March 1999 to seek a financial settlement from Marion County in the lawsuit. Lucas came up with the idea of trying to collect monetary damages, Spielvogel said. Hodges dismissed the lawsuit in late 1999.
An FBI videotape of a meeting of Lucas, Pendergraft, Spielvogel, and the county’s lawyer, Virgil “Bill” Wright III, shows Spielvogel repeating the allegation that Cretul threatened him, his wife and the clinic.
The trial is scheduled to continue this morning, with Spielvogel returning to the witness stand to face more cross-examination by Devereaux.
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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).
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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
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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.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
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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?
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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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