WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Prosecutors investigating whether Rush Limbaugh illegally went "doctor shopping" for prescription painkillers can examine his medical records, a judge ruled yesterday.
The conservative radio commentator accused prosecutors of going after him for political reasons, and his attorney promptly appealed the ruling.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff said authorities have a compelling interest in determining whether Limbaugh broke the law. The judge said prosecutors can view the records, but not make them public.
Palm Beach County prosecutors said they needed to determine how much Limbaugh's doctors knew about his frequent prescriptions for OxyContin, hydrocodone, and other painkillers, and whether he was "doctor shopping."
That term refers to 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. "Those records are the only way to clarify the violation of law that we're investigating," prosecutor James Martz said.
During his show yesterday, Limbaugh accused authorities of leaking information to damage his reputation, and said prosecutors have a political agenda. "The Democrats still cannot defeat me in the arena of political ideas," Limbaugh said. "And so now they're trying to do so in the court of public opinion and the legal system." Prosecutor Barry Krischer disputed the allegations.
Limbaugh's lawyer, Roy Black, said, "Mr. Limbaugh . . . should not have to sacrifice his privacy to prove his innocence."