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

The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

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.)

Click here for more information


Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — 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


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


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