|BuzzFlash News Analysis|
May 3, 2005
|NEWS ANALYSIS ARCHIVES|
Rush Limbaugh: Talent On Loan from Drugs
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
Will Rush Limbaugh be on the air to campaign for the Republicans during the 2006 election cycle?
Mr. Limbaugh is under investigation for obtaining over 2,000 prescription drugs within a six month period, in 2003. Under authorization of a search warrant, Mr. Limbaugh's medical records were seized from four doctor's offices by the Florida District Attorney's office.
The search warrant was requested by the DA after having received information from Mr. Limbaugh's former maid, Wilma Cline. Attorney Roy Black filed appeals over the course of a year to dispute the legality of obtaining the records via search warrant. The appeals were supported by the ACLU (Mr. Limbaugh has for years decried the liberal group on his radio program) and also by a physicians group. Other privacy advocates also supported Mr. Limbaugh.
The appeals delayed progress in the investigation and served as cause for sealing the medical records in box in a Florida courthouse evidence room, pending a decision. The lastest appeal was filed with the Florida Supreme Court on November 23, 2004.
Six months later, on Thursday, April 29, 2005, the Florida Supreme Court handed down its decision. "[The court] should decline to exercise jurisdiction, it is ordered that the Petition for Review is denied." The decision also included: "No Motion for Rehearing will be entertained by the Court." The decision, in essence, upholds a lower court ruling declaring the seizure as lawful. Prosecutors can now view the medial records.
Mr. Limbaugh's appeal was to the method used by the DA in obtaining the records. On his radio program, Mr. Limbaugh argued it was a privacy matter, that if he were to lose the appeals, all Floridians could then be subject to having their medical records seized without notification. His attorney argued that Florida statutes reference obtaining such records only via subpoena, that the owner of the records must first be informed of the subpoena and be given an opportunity to dispute the seizure request.
If you had listened to the statements coming from Mr. Limbaugh and his attorney, you'd think the District Attorney a fool for going the search warrant route, and that he violated Florida law by doing so. But the Florida District Attorney, Barry Krischer, is no dumb bum. A subpoena is issued by the District Attroney's office, under the authority of that office. To issue a subpoena simply requires that a current, lawful police investigation be under way. Therefore, all the District Attorney's office must do is show there is a legitimate police investigation, and the office can issue the subpoena without requiring judicial review of the circumstances.
This could lead to claims a DA was acting out of partisan interest by authorizing his or her own subpoena request. A search warrant, on the other hand, requires probable cause that a crime has been committed, and that the target is most likely the perpetrator. The search warrant request is reviewed by a judge, approved by a judge and signed off by a judge. In effect, there is greater protection afforded to the target of the investigation when a judge makes the decision, with the judge being an independent judicial officer, and not a member of the investigating agency.
The fact is the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court view search warrants as the best method to protect rights of citizens and to ensure the integrity of the investigative agency. Investigators executing the searches, which took place November 25, 2003, have accused Limbaugh of "doctor shopping," or improperly seeking out doctors to supply him with incredible quantities of painkillers, including OxyContin, Lorcet, Norco, Hydrocodone, Kadian, and Xanax.
The Smoking Gun website has obtained the search warrant.
The document contains five pages of interesting detail, including a partial list of perscriptions. In 2001, Mr. Limbaugh's speech had become slurred, and his voice deepened. Callers and emailers would make note of the changes, and Mr. Limbaugh would explain it away as he was just tired, or had a lingering cold. In September of that year, Mr. Limbaugh announced to his listening audience that he was almost entirely deaf in his left ear, and only minimal hearing remained with his right ear.
In 2003, the National Enquirer ran a story on that claimied Mr. Limbaugh was addicted to pain killers. The former maid had sold her story to the tabloid. Listeners tuned in to his radio program, expecting to hear Mr. Limbaugh dismiss the charge as bogus, ridiculous, a political witch hunt out to destroy his career. Instead, they heard a shocker. In October, 2003, Mr. Limbaugh announced to his listening audience that he would be entering rehab, due to an addiction to pain killers.
Many devoted listeners supported Mr. Limbaugh, while others concluded his public admission was simply an attempt to avert consequences of the potential outcome of a pending criminal investigation into his alleged doctor shopping. And the ultimate shocker: unbeknownst to his audience, Mr. Limbaugh had checked himself into rehab on two prior occasions, in previous years.
In November, 2003, it was revealed that authorities in Florida were also looking into whether Mr. Limbaugh violated state money laundering laws by repeatedly withdrawing amounts of $9,900.00 (between 30 and 40 occurrences) from one of his bank accounts, presumably to pay to his pill dealer. Banks must report withdrawals of $10,000 or more. Mr. Limbaugh's bank was fined $10 million for not reporting suspicious activity. It also appears the bank provided the 'under $10,000 withdrawal' service for other clients as well. It is not known if the other clients are involved in the Limbaugh investigation.
Mr. Limbaugh's support team sprang into action with a secret plan to save their boss after the addiction story broke. The plan involved surveying listeners, and how to handle potential PR problems. A must-read story can be found here.
There we have it:
* Alleged money laundering.
* Self-admitted drug addiction.
* Rehab aficianado.
* Hearing loss induced by oxycontin abuse. Deafness can occur with oxycontin abuse. Medical literature supports the notion.
* Ex-ESPN, racially-biased sports commentator.
* Now thrice divorced.
Is that what he means when he says, "Excellence in Broad-Casting"?
* "Talent on loan from God." (a proclamation Mr. Limbaugh offers each and every week on his radio program.)
Hmmm. If that is the best "Talent" your Deity loaned to you, Mr. Limbaugh, then you were gypped. Big time.
Recommended read: a most comprehensive chronicling of Mr. Limbaugh's 'talent' can be found here.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS