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Florida court refuses to hear Limbaugh appeal

Commentator fighting seizure of medical records by prosecutors
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday 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 had also objected to the use of search warrants to obtain the medical records in 2003. The documents have remain sealed, pending the outcome of Limbaugh’s appeals.

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

It was unclear whether Limbaugh has any more legal options to stop the investigation. Limbaugh’s spokesman, Tony Knight, said attorneys were considering their options.

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 oceanfront 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.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, described the case as an “ongoing criminal investigation.” He declined to comment further.