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MEDIA MATTERS

Rush hammers officials over 'fishing expedition'

Talk-show host responds to judge's decision
allowing state to examine his medical records

Rush Limbaugh used his syndicated radio show today to blast a judge’s decision to allow prosecutors to examine his medical records to look for anything that might suggest the talk-show host engaged in illegal “doctor shopping” for prescription painkillers.

Limbaugh had asked that the records be sealed to protect his privacy. Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff, however, ruled against him this morning.


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Rush Limbaugh

“The judge ruled against me on the privacy of my medical records despite the fact that we claim that the prosecution in this case did not follow the law as written by the Florida legislature in securing those medical records,” Limbaugh told his listening audience.

“Where have we heard this before? ‘That authorities in Florida did not follow the law as established by the Florida legislature.’ We’ve heard this in the Gore-Bush recount, when the Florida Supreme Court decided to change election law in the middle of the process, in order to keep counting counties that had been counted over and over again.”

Roy Black, Limbaugh’s attorney said he would file an appeal of the decision.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and will be filing an appeal today,” Black said. “These records will show that there was no doctor shopping. But the larger issue is that the seizure of Mr. Limbaugh’s private medical records without going through the process outlined by the state legislature is clearly an invasion of Mr. Limbaugh’s constitutional right to privacy. Mr. Limbaugh was not doctor shopping.

“He should not have to sacrifice his privacy to prove his innocence. The burden is on the prosecutor’s office, not only to prove otherwise, but also to go through the appropriate legal process that protects an individual’s right to privacy. We are confident we will prevail on appeal.”

Investigators obtained the records last month after discovering that Limbaugh received more than 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach home, the Associated Press reported.

Doctor shopping is the practice of looking for a doctor willing to prescribe drugs illegally, or getting prescriptions for a single drug from more than one doctor at the same time.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office began investigating Limbaugh after his former maid said she had supplied him with drugs. Limbaugh has admitted to an addiction to prescription painkillers and spent five weeks in a rehab program this fall.

The talk-show host noted today that reports about his alleged involvement in a drug ring and money laundering have subsided in recent months.

“What happened to all those things?” he asked. “What happened to the drug ring investigation? What happened to the drug trafficking investigation? What happened to the money laundering investigation? Have you heard of them since they were leaked? No. I wonder why? Why haven’t we heard about these investigations?

“Now maybe we can answer the question. Now, these same high-place government sources [who leaked information] have gotten permission to see my medical records. Why do they need my medical records? I mean, if they’ve got a drug ring investigation going and they’ve leaked all this to the press, and if they’ve got drug traffic investigation going and they’ve leaked all this to the press, and they’ve got a money laundering investigation, why do they need to invade my privacy to see my medical records? The answer is, because they need my medical records to discover, to learn whether I have committed a crime called doctor shopping.”

Continued Limbaugh: “Drug ring, drug trafficking, money laundering. Now they need my medical records, my private medical records to find out if I’ve committed a crime called doctor shopping? You mean with all these previous leaks, they now have to invade my privacy to learn whether I have broken the law? Why, I thought based on the leaks I’ve broken the law all these times! How many of you did? How many of you thought, ‘Gee, whiz, this is really getting bad.’ Doctor shopping? Doctor shopping. And they need to invade my privacy to even find out about that. These medical records, by the way, will prove legitimate medical conditions requiring treatment.”

Characterizing the action against him as a “fishing expedition,” Limbaugh further explained the analogy:

“We can cast a wide fishing net, we can stand out there after all these leaks, and we can throw a fishing line out there and we can [say], ‘Ooh, let’s maybe, maybe we’ll find something in Limbaugh’s medical records.’”

Related stories:

Rush Limbaugh’s medical records seized

Rush Limbaugh attacks ABC News investigation

Rush Limbaugh returns ‘reborn at age 50′

Did drugs cause Rush’s deafness?

Rush: I am addicted to pain-killing drugs

Rush to respond to charges – later

Others called McNabb ‘overrated’

National Enquirer accuses Rush of ‘drug abuse’

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