Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Pendergraft takes the stand

By Editorial Staff
Published January 26, 2001

By Rick Cundiff, Staff Writer, Ocala Star Banner

OCALA — Dr. James Scott Pendergraft IV testified Thursday he would still seek a $100 million judgment against Marion County if that was what it took to ensure his rights and those of the women of the county.

Pendergraft — owner of the Ocala Women’s Center, which provides abortions — took the witness stand in his own defense at his federal extortion trial. Co-defendant Michael Spielvogel concluded his testimony earlier in the day.

In a March 1999 meeting of Pendergraft, his then-attorney Roy Lucas, Spielvogel and Virgil “Bill” Wright, a lawyer for the county, Lucas threatened to bankrupt the county by asking for a $100 million civil judgment.

Pendergraft vowed to bankrupt the county and place a statue of himself in the center of the county saying he “brought freedom to Ocala.”

A videotape of that meeting, secretly recorded by the FBI, forms the basis for the conspiracy-to-commit-extortion charge Pendergraft and Spielvogel are facing.

Soft-spoken and deliberate, and frequently looking toward the jury box, Pendergraft didn’t back down Wednesday from his statement on the videotape.

“If that was what it took to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the country,” he said, “if that was the message to be sent out, then I was for that, if it was something I deserved, or the Ocala Women’s Center deserved.”

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 clinic, on Pine Avenue, and four other clinics, in Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, which also perform abortions.

At the time the Ocala clinic opened in July 1998, Pendergraft requested that off-duty Ocala police officers or Marion County sheriff’s deputies be allowed to work security details at the clinic. Then-Sheriff Ken Ergle and Ocala Police Chief Morrey Deen both refused permission.

The clinic needed help, Pendergraft said Thursday, because at the time anti-abortion protesters were blocking the driveway entrance, blocking the doors and getting as close as five feet from staff members and patients.

“We knew we needed protection from the protesters,” Pendergraft said. “Because we didn’t appear to be getting anywhere with the police, I turned to Mr. Lucas.”

The intent of the lawsuit was to force the protesters back far enough to allow staff and patients safe access and to require Deen and Ergle to allow their officers to work as clinic security, Pendergraft said.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges issued a preliminary injunction requiring the city to allow off-duty officers to work at the clinic but dismissed the lawsuit in December 1999, after Lucas failed to pursue it. Hodges is presiding over the criminal trial.

Wednesday’s testimony began with Spielvogel on the stand, under continued cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux. Although the exchanges between them began on a relatively civil note, mutual hostility quickly became evident.

Spielvogel and Devereaux clashed repeatedly throughout the cross-examination. On Wednesday, Spielvogel had mentioned an allegation made by some of Pendergraft’s supporters that Devereaux once referred to Pendergraft in a pre-trial meeting as a “head-crusher.”

Asked about Spielvogel’s remark Thursday, Devereaux first declined to comment, then said the statement came “from a liar.”

He added: “There’s nobody in this courtroom who would believe Mr. Spielvogel.”

On Wednesday, Devereaux asked Spielvogel if he knew what it meant to “take the fall.” On Thursday, he asked, “Have you ever heard of a bag man, the guy who goes out and does stuff for the bad person?”

“I’m not a bag man,” Spielvogel responded.

The FBI began investigating Spielvogel and Pendergraft in October 1997, after Spielvogel called County Commissioner Larry Cretul. The commission had sent a one-paragraph letter to Pendergraft asking him to reconsider his plans to open the Ocala clinic.

In that call, Cretul testified, Spielvogel 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, secretly taped subsequent phone calls between himself and Pendergraft or Spielvogel.

Pendergraft testified Thursday he bought the property for the Ocala clinic after determining there was a need for reproductive health services in Marion County.

Spielvogel didn’t understand why he wanted to open the clinic, Pendergraft said.

“I told Michael that I was not interested in anyone buying my facility, that I was coming to Ocala because there was a need there. I told him I didn’t care if I made one dime there.”

A substantial number of Marion County patients were traveling to his Orlando facilities, Pendergraft said.

Spielvogel was afraid of Ocala from the start, Pendergraft said.

“When it came to Ocala, he just had this fear, this terror that something bad was going to happen up here,” Pendergraft said.

Spielvogel acknowledged Wednesday 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. After that call, Spielvogel called the FBI, alleging Cretul threatened him.

He also said that, after calling the FBI, he drove to one of Pendergraft’s two Orlando clinics and faked a call. He pretended to repeat threats Cretul was making as Pendergraft was walking into the room.

Spielvogel also said Wednesday that he didn’t tell his lawyer, Pendergraft’s lawyers or Pendergraft that the call was staged until 17 days ago, after the trial started.

In March 1999, Lucas filed two affidavits, one from Spielvogel and one from Pendergraft. Spielvogel’s documented the threats Cretul was falsely accused of making, and Pendergraft’s said he believed Spielvogel, based on the staged phone call.

Lucas used those affidavits as the basis for his demand for a settlement from the county. Pendergraft testified Thursday that Lucas proposed the settlement and he was relying on the lawyer’s advice.

Pendergraft said Thursday he was “very angry, but forgiving” about Spielvogel’s deception.

Pendergraft is scheduled to return to the witness stand this morning. The trial is expected to conclude next week.


Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

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

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.)

Click here for more information


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.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

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?

These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.

$12.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


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

$4.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“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.

Running time: 105 minutes

Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.

Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

$9.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

Search this site:
View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

RSS
Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

YouTube
The Forerunner Channel on YouTube


Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
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...
continued ...


View My Stats