Report: Charge in drug case against Limbaugh rarely used
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 11:53 p.m.
WEST PALM BEACH - Palm Beach County prosecutors investigating Rush Limbaugh for his prescription drug use have filed "doctor shopping" charges against only one person in the past five years, according to a review of court records.
Limbaugh's lawyer said the review by The Palm Beach Post in Saturday's editions offers more evidence that the conservative radio commentator is being unfairly targeted.
Doctor shopping, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, is duping at least two doctors into prescribing the same controlled substance in a 30-day period. Prosecutors are examining Limbaugh's medical records to determine whether he should be charged with "doctor shopping."
"The Post's research confirms what we have been saying all along. Rush Limbaugh has been singled out for special prosecution because of who he is," Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, said in a written statement provided to the newspaper. "We believe the state attorney's office is applying a double standard."
State Attorney Barry Krischer denied that notion, saying "Mr. Limbaugh is presumed innocent at this time."
A telephone message left at Black's law office on Saturday was not immediately returned.
The newspaper's review of county Clerk of Courts Office records revealed only one case where charges of illegally acquiring overlapping prescriptions were filed. That case was never prosecuted, because the defendant died before trial.
Two other doctor shopping cases were transferred from other counties and prosecuted in Palm Beach County, the newspaper found. One woman was convicted and received 18 months probation, which she is still serving; another case remains open and has not yet gone to trial.
Investigators obtained Limbaugh's medical records in November after discovering he received more than 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors, at a pharmacy near his $24 million Palm Beach mansion. Limbaugh's former maid told investigators she had been supplying him prescription painkillers for years.
Limbaugh's attorneys had argued that the seizure of the records from doctors in Florida and California violated their client's privacy and that the investigation was politically motivated.
Limbaugh recently admitted his addiction, saying it stemmed from severe back pain, and took a five-week leave from his afternoon radio show to enter a rehabilitation program.
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