By Editorial Staff
Published February 2, 2001
By Frank Stanfield, Sentinel Correspondent
OCALA — An Orlando abortion doctor vowed Thursday to keep his clinics open, despite his conviction on charges of conspiring to extort money from Marion County officials.
A federal jury deliberated for eight hours during two days before finding Dr. James Pendergraft and his associate Michael Spielvogel of Orlando guilty of all charges. Both were released without bail until U.S. District Judge Terrell Hodges sets a sentencing date.
Pendergraft, who operates two Orlando clinics and three others in Florida, faces up to 30 years in prison. Spielvogel could get as many as 40 years.
“I’m disappointed in the justice system as far as saying that I’m guilty,” Pendergraft said. “But I will continue to fight that, and in the interim I will take care of women in their most difficult time.”
Jacob Rose, Pendergraft’s lawyer, promised a quick appeal.
Bill Parizek, a spokesman with the Florida Board of Medicine, did not comment specifically about Pendergraft’s case but said physicians must report being convicted within 30 days. A panel then investigates to see whether the conviction would interfere with a doctor’s ability to practice medicine. He said a clinic could remain open even if its owner is in prison if another physician is appointed to run it.
Pendergraft was found guilty of conspiracy, attempted extortion and mail fraud. Spielvogel, his real estate adviser, was convicted of the same charges, plus lying to the FBI and filing a false statement.
Pendergraft and Spielvogel showed no emotion in the courtroom, but County Commissioner Larry Cretul seemed relieved: “I believe this jury’s decision brought the truth out.”
Cretul’s testimony and his secretly taped FBI conversations with the two men apparently convinced jurors that Pendergraft and Spielvogel tried to get county officials to pay them off to keep them from opening a clinic in Ocala.
But Pendergraft’s supporters contended the prosecution was politically motivated by abortion opponents in this city 75 miles northwest of Orlando.
“We can see how an innocent person can be convicted in a United States courtroom,” said Dr. Sangeeta Pati, a spokeswoman for Right to Fight, a coalition of abortion-rights groups. “Abortion was an issue. Race was an issue.”
Anti-abortion activists disagreed. “It looks like justice was done,” said Meredith Raney, spokesman for Christians For Life. “It didn’t have anything to do with him being an abortionist. It had to do with extortion, but if it takes him out of the abortion business, I’m thrilled with that.”
Rose, Pendergraft’s attorney, said he would appeal based on what he called prosecutor misconduct. He failed Wednesday to get the judge to declare a mistrial based on Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux’s closing arguments in which he said Pendergraft, who is black, was “shuckin’ and jivin’ “ on the witness stand. “It was disrespectful,” Rose said.
Even worse, he said, Devereaux accused the doctor of bribing Spielvogel to lie on the witness stand, Rose said.
Spielvogel’s plans for appeal were less certain. “I’ve got to talk to my client about that,” said his attorney, Dan Brodersen.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
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.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
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?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“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.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
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).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)