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Pendergraft denied appeal bond, 6/21/2001

By Editorial Staff
Published June 21, 2001

By Rick Cundiff, Staff Writer, Ocala Star Banner

OCALA — A federal judge Thursday denied abortion provider James Scott Pendergraft’s motion to remain free on bond while he appeals his conviction on charges of attempted extortion, conspiracy and mail fraud.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges rejected, without a hearing, motions by Pendergraft and his co-defendant Michael Spielvogel to allow the men to remain free during their appeals to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Both men were convicted in February. Spielvogel was convicted of the same charges as Pendergraft, and two additional charges of making false statements to the FBI and filing a false affidavit. In May, Hodges sentenced Pendergraft to 46 months in prison, and Spielvogel to 41 months.

Pendergraft said late Thursday that he was not surprised by Hodges’ ruling.

“He’s had his mind made up for a long time,” Pendergraft said.

Pendergraft also said he is taking steps to see that his five clinics which provide abortion services, including the Ocala Women’s Center, remain open if he goes to prison.

“The clinics will all remain open,” he said.

Bruce Rogow, the lawyer handling Pendergraft’s appeal, said he had not seen Hodges’ order Thursday afternoon, but that he would appeal the ruling to the 11th Circuit.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed, but I’m optimistic the Court of Appeals will allow them to remain free on bond while the appeal is pending,” he said. “So now we’ll have to go to the [appeals] court. That’s what we’ll do.”

Neither Spielvogel nor his attorney, Daniel Brodersen, could be reached for comment.

Pendergraft’s lawyers, in their bond request motion, focused on comments made during the trial by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux. Among other things, the motion alleges Devereaux, who is white, made racist remarks in his closing argument by referring to Pendergraft, who is black, as a man who “shucks and jives” when asked a question.

Hodges noted that Pendergraft’s lawyers waited until the next day to object to that comment. The remark also did not strike the judge as racially motivated, Hodges wrote.

“At the time the challenged statement was uttered by the prosecutor, it made no impression on me that it might be interpreted as a racial slur or racial stereotyping,” he wrote, “otherwise I would have immediately interrupted with a heavy hand. Rather I understood the prosecutor merely to be suggesting that during cross examination the Defendant Pendergraft was evasive and sometimes deceptive, a perfectly valid argument.”

In a footnote to that statement, Hodges notes that he found at the May sentencing hearing “that the Defendant’s deceptive (trial) testimony constituted an obstruction of justice.”

Hodges goes on to discuss the origins of the phrase “shuck and jive,” saying that it appears to be rooted in black history, but “there is no reason to believe that the prosecutor intended his use of that expression as a racial stereotype.”

In another footnote, Hodges cites the lyrics of a 1978 song recorded by Art Garfunkel, “Mr. Shuck ‘n’ Jive,” as an example of the phrase not having racial connotations. Hodges concludes that Devereaux didn’t intend the phrase to be a racial remark, and that there was no reason to believe it prejudiced the jury against Pendergraft.

Pendergraft’s lawyers also argued that Devereaux’s cross-examination of Pendergraft, and his closing remarks, were unfairly argumentative and displayed a personal bias against Pendergraft, Hodges rejected those issues as well.

The charges against Pendergraft required Devereaux to prove that Pendergraft was “a willful liar,” Hodges wrote.

“When the Defendant elected to testify in his own defense, the whole object of the Government’s cross-examination must necessarily have been to demonstrate that the Defendant also lied as a witness when he denied making the false representations alleged in the indictment,” he wrote. “It could not have surprised anyone under those circumstances that the prosecutor’s cross-examination was vigorous, even argumentative at times. But the prosecutor never directly expressed a personal opinion about the matter.”

In contrast to his lengthy response to Pendergraft’s motion, Hodges rejected Spielvogel’s motion for bond in two paragraphs of the 10-page ruling. Brodersen said in his motion to keep Spielvogel free on bond that Hodges improperly ruled against two key defense pre-trial motions, and that Devereaux’s closing argument was improper.

“None of these claims rises to the level of a ‘substantial’ issue … and it follows that (U.S. law) requires that the Defendant be detained pending appeal,” Hodges responded.

Both Pendergraft and Spielvogel are still free until they are directed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, or the U.S. Marshal’s office to turn themselves in.


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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

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

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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:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
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6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

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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?

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“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. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.

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

Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

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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...
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