Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Pendergraft sentenced to 46 months, 5/25/2001

By Editorial Staff
Published May 25, 2001

By Rick Cunduff Staff Writer, Ocala Star Banner

OCALA — Abortion provider Dr. James Scott Pendergraft IV was sentenced Thursday to nearly four years in prison on federal charges of attempted extortion, conspiracy and mail fraud.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges sentenced Pendergraft to 46 months, to be followed by two years of supervised release. He also fined Pendergraft $25,000.

Hodges sentenced Pendergraft’s associate, Michael Spielvogel, to 41 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Hodges could have sentenced both men to 51 months in prison and fined them up to $75,000 each.

Lawyers for Pendergraft and Spielvogel both filed motions of appeal. Hodges allowed them to remain free on bond while they appeal their convictions to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pendergraft owns the Ocala Women’s Center and four other Florida clinics which provide abortions and other reproductive health services for women.

Jurors convicted Pendergraft and Spielvogel on Feb. 1 of conspiracy, attempted extortion and mail fraud. Spielvogel also was convicted of filing a false affidavit and making false statements to the FBI.

The usually flamboyant Pendergraft and his equally outspoken lawyers had little to say as they left the courthouse following the sentencing.

“Hopefully, the case will be reversed on appeal,” said Bruce Rogow, the lawyer who will handle Pendergraft’s appeal. He declined to comment further on the case, other than to praise Hodges’ decision to follow sentencing guidelines.

Pendergraft’s five clinics will remain open, spokeswoman Marti Mackenzie said.

Pendergraft made no comment after the hearing. Spielvogel praised Hodges’ fairness.

“I just think Judge Hodges is an honorable judge,” Spielvogel said after the hearing. “I think he’s great, and fair.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux declined to comment.

Security at the Golden-Collum Federal Building was exceptionally tight for the three-hour hearing, with U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service officers and Ocala police surrounding the building. Armed sharpshooters patrolled nearby rooftops as the hearing began.

Inside the windowless courtroom, about 60 spectators, including both supporters of abortion rights and opponents of abortion, filled the wooden benches. Marshals guarded every entrance to the room once the hearing had begun.

Melbourne-based abortion opponent Meredith Rainey said afterward the case had nothing to do with abortion.

“Then why are you here?” two Pendergraft supporters responded in unison.

Pendergraft, 43, and Spielvogel, 54, were indicted last summer. Prosecutors alleged the two men had attempted to extort money from Marion County at a 1999 meeting of Spielvogel, Pendergraft, his then-lawyer Roy Lucas and Virgil “Bill” Wright III, a lawyer representing the county. Pendergraft had filed a lawsuit three months earlier, after then-Sheriff Ken Ergle and Ocala Police Chief Morrey Deen refused to allow their off-duty officers to work as security guards at the Pine Avenue clinic.

At that meeting, Spielvogel alleged County Commission Chairman Larry Cretul had threatened him, his wife — who works for Pendergraft — and the clinic, during a telephone call. Spielvogel first made the claim in an affidavit filed a month before the meeting.

Pendergraft filed a second affidavit supporting Spielvogel’s version of events. Unknown to both men, the FBI had recorded calls between each of them and Cretul. The agency also videotaped the March 1999 meeting.

On the videotape, Lucas sought a settlement from the county, noting that an Oregon jury had recently awarded a $107 million verdict against the anti-abortion “Nuremberg Files” Web site. (That verdict was recently overturned on appeal.)

At the meeting, Pendergraft vowed to bankrupt the county if necessary and put a statue of himself in the center of town saying he “brought freedom to Ocala.”

In January, Spielvogel admitted on the witness stand that no telephone conversation took place in which Cretul made the threats Spielvogel claimed.

Hodges rejected some claims made by the prosecution Thursday, including Devereaux’s contention that Cretul was a victim in the case. Cretul, who was in the courtroom for the verdict, said afterward that he didn’t agree with the judge’s decision on that point.

“Certainly, I took a lot of . . . suspicion out there, even when I couldn’t comment while the trial was going on. There are people out there who feel that I was the bad guy,” he said. “There were times when I thought I was the one on trial.”

Three of Pendergraft’s supporters spoke on his behalf at Thursday’s hearing.

“He is a dedicated physician, working seven days a week, even now,” said Dr. Sangeeta Pati, a Maryland physician who was present for nearly all of the trial. “I am honored and proud to be his friend and colleague.”

Another colleague, Dr. Andrea Vidali, spoke of Pendergraft’s dedication to work at D.C. General, a public hospital in inner-city Washington, when others chose not to.

“Dr. Pendergraft wanted to make an impact, and he did make an impact,” Vidali said.

Hodges kept the three-hour hearing moving, several times rejecting the lawyers’ requests to be heard.

“At the moment, I ask that you be seated,” he told Pendergraft lawyer Larry Colleton just before sentencing Pendergraft. “This is not an easy thing to do, Mr. Colleton, and it is made more difficult when I am interrupted by counsel.”

Before sentencing them, Hodges reflected on the cost of the conviction to both Pendergraft and Spielvogel.

“Dr. Pendergraft is 43 years of age, and at the pinnacle of what, by all accounts, is a brilliant medical career. That obviously is to be interrupted, if not completely sacrificed,” he said.

But Hodges went on to rebuke both men.

“The defendants were overtaken by their own greed. And this is a case about greed and the making of false statements in an attempt to get money to which they were not entitled,” he said. “That’s what the case is about, and that’s all it’s about and ever was about.”


Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

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


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


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?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

$19.95 — 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


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

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