Rush Limbaugh’s medical records will remain off-limits to prosecutors for at least 15 days more while his attorneys pursue an appeal to permanently seal them, a judge ruled Monday.
Limbaugh’s attorneys asked for the extension while they appeal the judge’s earlier decision allowing prosecutors to examine the files for evidence that the conservative radio commentator illegally purchased painkillers.
Investigators seized the records last month after discovering that Limbaugh received more than 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion. Limbaugh’s former maid told investigators she had been supplying him prescription painkillers for years.
Limbaugh admitted his addiction to prescription painkillers in October, saying it stemmed from severe back pain. He took a five-week leave from his afternoon radio show to enter a rehabilitation program.
Limbaugh’s attorneys argue that the seizure of the records from doctors in Florida and California violated Limbaugh’s privacy and that the investigation was politically motivated.
“It’s not really a question of wrongdoing. It’s a question of privacy rights in Florida,” attorney Mark Shapiro said Monday.
He said the records include “the most private conversations between doctor and patient.”
Limbaugh and his attorneys have said that prosecutors reviewed the medical records Dec. 22 after Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Winikoff ruled they could be unsealed and before Limbaugh’s attorneys won a stay.
Limbaugh and his attorneys have criticized Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, for opening the records and accused prosecutors of pursuing Limbaugh for political reasons.
Assistant State Attorney Jim Martz declined to comment after Monday’s hearing, but prosecutors have denied that the investigation is politically motivated.
Shapiro said he would ask the Fourth District Court of Appeal to keep the records sealed “until the entire appeal process has been exhausted.”
Prosecutors have not filed charges against Limbaugh and their investigation will be delayed until the court decides whether to keep the records sealed past the new deadline.
Martz objected to the new delay, saying prosecutors want to proceed with their criminal investigation.