Pendergraft’s Appeal Alleges Racism

OCALA — An abortion doctor sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for attempted extortion has appealed, alleging the prosecutor made racist and other inappropriate remarks during his trial. The appeal, filed last week, indicate the prosecutor’s comments and actions throughout the nearly monthlong trial of Dr. James Scott Pendergraft will be a major issue. During closing arguments, U.S. Attorney Mark Devereaux said that Pendergraft, who is black, was a man who “shucks and jives” when asked a question on the witness stand. Pendergraft, who operates two Orlando clinics and three others in Florida, was convicted in February of attempted extortion, conspiracy and mail fraud for falsely accusing a Marion County official of bomb threats.

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