Extortion Case Delayed, 12/12/2000

OCALA — The trial of an Orlando abortion doctor charged with extortion was postponed Monday until January. The trial of Dr. James Pendergraft and business associate Michael Spielvogel was set to begin Monday, but was canceled by U. S. District Judge Terrell Hodges because of the death of Pendergraft’s grandmother. It has been rescheduled for Jan. 2. Pendergraft and his real estate adviser, Spielvogel, are accused in a 1999 grand jury indictment of attempting to extort from the Marion County government in 1998. According to a grand jury indictment, the two conspired to falsely allege in a civil court affidavit that Marion County Commissioner Larry Cretul indicated impending violence against the Ocala Women’s Center. Pendergraft owns the Ocala clinic and two others in Orlando.

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