Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Judge recesses Pendergraft trial

By Editorial Staff
Published January 10, 2001

By Rick Cundiff, Staff Writer, Ocala Star Banner

OCALA — Less than three hours after prosecutors showed a videotape Tuesday in which Dr. James Scott Pendergraft IV pledged to put a statue of himself in the center of Ocala, the federal extortion conspiracy trial of Pendergraft and Michael Spielvogel came to a second unscheduled halt.

Prosecutors showed the 69-minute tape just before the trial broke for lunch. During the lunch break, a woman juror fell and struck her head on the sidewalk or the curb outside a downtown restaurant. The woman was knocked unconscious and was taken by ambulance to Ocala Regional Medical Center for examination.

At 2 p.m., Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges recessed the trial for the day to see if the woman would be able to continue as a juror this morning. If she cannot continue, Hodges will designate one of two alternate jurors to take her place.

“This is beginning to be a star-crossed case, I’m afraid,” Hodges said.

The incident marked the second time in less than a week that a fall has affected the trial. Pendergraft defense attorney Jacob Rose fell last Friday during a courtroom power outage and re-injured his left knee, on which he had surgery in September. Hodges recessed the trial Friday for a half-day.

A faulty circuit breaker caused the Friday blackout in the windowless courtroom. On Tuesday, that circuit breaker’s replacement tripped twice while Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux played the videotape, secretly recorded by the FBI, of a meeting between Pendergraft, his then-attorney Roy Lucas, Spielvogel and Virgil “Bill” Wright III, the lawyer representing Marion County.

Although brief, each outage triggered gasps from the courtroom audience. Like last week, the courtroom emergency lights didn’t work, but, unlike last week, marshals in the courtroom had high-powered flashlights.

After the second incident, Hodges instructed U.S. marshals to turn off half the lights in the courtroom to prevent the video equipment from tripping the breaker. The videotape then played to its conclusion.

On the tape, Lucas told Wright at one point that the county would have to pay a substantial settlement or risk bankruptcy if a lawsuit filed by Pendergraft in December 1998 went to a jury.

“We got a serious case. We’re going to go for a verdict of a hundred million dollars, and they (had) better come up with some money or they’re going to get burned,” Lucas said. “We’ll try to bankrupt the county.”

“Not try. We will bankrupt the county,” Pendergraft said on the tape. “And I promise you, I will put a statue of myself in the middle, once we get the county, that says that Dr. Pendergraft brought freedom to Ocala.”

The videotaped March 1999 meeting came about after Pendergraft filed a lawsuit against the county, the city of Ocala, Sheriff Ed Dean, former Sheriff Ken Ergle, Ocala Police Chief Morrey Deen and a dozen anti-abortion activists. The lawsuit alleged the city and county failed to provide adequate protection for the Ocala Women’s Center.

Pendergraft and Spielvogel were indicted last June in a five-count indictment charging they conspired to extort millions of dollars from Marion County government by making false and fraudulent statements in that lawsuit. Hodges dismissed the lawsuit a year later, after Pendergraft and attorney Roy Lucas did not pursue it.

The indictment alleges Pendergraft and Spielvogel lied in the lawsuit by saying Cretul threatened Spielvogel and the clinic. The indictment also alleges Pendergraft and Spielvogel, through attorney Lucas, threatened to bankrupt the county by asking for a $100 million judgment.

Wright testified Tuesday that Lucas sent him copies of affidavits by Spielvogel and Pendergraft saying Cretul threatened Spielvogel by telephone on Jan. 29, 1998. Spielvogel’s affidavit said Cretul threatened the clinic, Spielvogel and Spielvogel’s wife, a clinic employee.

The call took place about 12 hours after an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., was firebombed, killing an off-duty police officer and critically injuring a nurse. According to Spielvogel’s affidavit, Cretul said it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when” the Ocala clinic was firebombed and that “what happened in Alabama would be nothing compared to what would happen in Ocala.”

Pendergraft’s affidavit said he believed Spielvogel was telling the truth because he was present when the call took place and that Spielvogel repeated Cretul’s remarks to him immediately after Cretul said them.

What Spielvogel and Pendergraft, and later Lucas, didn’t know was that the FBI was secretly recording conversations between Cretul and Spielvogel or Pendergraft as part of an investigation that began after Spielvogel first called Cretul in October 1997. Audiotapes played earlier in the trial give no indication that Cretul made the threats that Spielvogel alleged.

Wright, acting as the county’s attorney in the matter, was briefed about the investigation by FBI Special Agent Pamela Piersanti. With Lucas seeking a meeting with Wright to negotiate, Wright agreed to cooperate with the FBI and allow the agency to videotape that meeting. The meeting took place March 22, 1999, in a conference room at Wright’s office, with a video camera hidden behind Wright’s chair, facing Lucas, Pendergraft and Spielvogel.

Cretul was not named in the lawsuit. At the meeting, Lucas told Wright that he would be filing an amended complaint that listed Cretul. Lucas also mentioned a $107 million verdict against some Oregon abortion foes who had advocated violence against abortion providers.

“We have every intention to try to get a verdict that size or larger,” Lucas said.

Both Pendergraft and Spielvogel are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, lying under oath and mail fraud. Spielvogel faces additional charges of offering false testimony and making false statements to FBI investigators. If convicted, Pendergraft faces up to 30 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, while Spielvogel could face up to 40 years and $1.25 million in fines.

Since Pendergraft and Spielvogel were indicted, Lucas has resigned his Washington, D.C., Bar Association membership and disappeared.

Tuesday’s recess means the trial is likely to extend into late January. If jurors don’t get the case by Friday, it will be continued to Jan. 22.

The trial was scheduled to continue this morning.


Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“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.)

Click here for more information


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.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


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


In The Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

$19.95 — 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 |

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