- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2005

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A judge gave some of talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh’s medical records to prosecutors yesterday, allowing their long-stalled investigation into whether the conservative commentator illegally purchased painkillers to move forward.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Barkdull III returned other Limbaugh records to his attorney, Roy Black, who had argued that some of his client’s records contained privileged, even embarrassing, details of medical procedures, symptoms and other issues unrelated to the criminal probe.

None of the records’ contents were revealed.

After the hearing, Mr. Black said he thought the records given to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office would not support a criminal charge.

Mr. Limbaugh has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, which became public in November 2003 after investigators used search warrants to seize his medical records.

“The records show that Mr. Limbaugh received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons,” Mr. Black said.

Prosecutors seized the records after learning that Mr. Limbaugh received painkillers from four doctors in six months at a Palm Beach pharmacy near his oceanfront mansion.

They have said the records will prove Mr. Limbaugh engaged in “doctor shopping,” or illegally deceiving multiple doctors to receive overlapping prescriptions.

“The review of those records now goes forward in earnest,” the state attorney’s office said.

Mr. Limbaugh acknowledged an addiction to pain medication, attributing it to severe back pain, and took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program in October 2003.

The medical records have remained sealed since investigators seized them because Mr. Limbaugh appealed, arguing, ultimately unsuccessfully, that the seizure violated his privacy.

Mr. Limbaugh has accused Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, of a “fishing expedition” that’s politically motivated.

The state attorney’s office declined further comment and gave no indication about how long the investigation would take.

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