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Verdict Won't Close Clinics, Doctor Vows

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.


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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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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?

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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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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.

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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).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

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Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 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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