Court shuns Limbaugh’s claim of privacy violation

By Jill Barton

The Associated Press

Rush Limbaugh hasn’t been charged with a crime.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. � The Florida Supreme Court yesterday declined to consider an appeal from commentator Rush Limbaugh claiming his privacy was violated when his medical records were seized for an investigation of whether he illegally purchased painkillers.

The 4-3 order did not explain the court’s reasoning.

Limbaugh’s attorney also had objected to the use of search warrants to obtain the medical records in 2003. The documents have remained sealed, pending the outcome of Limbaugh’s appeals.

A prosecution spokesman declined to say when his office might begin reviewing the records.

The court said it would not consider any motions for a review of the order, so it was unclear whether Limbaugh has further legal recourse to stop the investigation.

Limbaugh was unavailable for comment yesterday. The show has 20 million listeners a week, and is heard on nearly 600 radio stations, including KTTH-AM (770) in Seattle.

“He has not been charged with a crime, and he should not be charged. His medical records will show that he received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons,” Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, said in a statement.

Prosecutors seized the records after learning that Limbaugh had received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors over six months, at a pharmacy near his mansion in Palm Beach.

The conservative commentator has maintained his innocence while acknowledging an addiction to painkillers that he said started after he developed severe back pain. He argues that the case threatens privacy rights for all Floridians � a point that has drawn support from the American Civil Liberties Union � and accuses Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, of leading a politically motivated investigation.

Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.

Copyright � 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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