Rush Limbaugh’s attorney argued Wednesday that investigators trampled the conservative commentator’s privacy rights when they made a surprise visit to a doctor’s office to seize his medical records.
Limbaugh attorney Roy Black is seeking to keep the records sealed from prosecutors who accuse the radio host of illegally buying prescription drugs. He said investigators should have provided some notice they were going to seize records containing private information.
Instead, they used search warrants and gave Limbaugh no chance to challenge the seizure.
But Assistant State Attorney Jim Martz said giving notice would have limited the ability to investigate allegations that Limbaugh illegally “doctor shopped” to obtain pain pills, visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions.
Limbaugh, 53, has not been charged with a crime and the investigation is at a standstill pending a decision on the medical records.
He admitted his addiction to pain medication 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.
The 4th District Court of Appeals did not say when it would release a ruling.
If Limbaugh’s appeal succeeds, the criminal case against him could be stalled for good.
But if the appellate court sides with prosecutors, the ruling could finally open the records to officials who have been waiting for months to pursue their case against Limbaugh.
Prosecutors went after Limbaugh’s medical records after learning that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.
Joining the well-known conservative in his legal battle is the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that the outcome of the case could affect the confidentiality of doctor-patient relationships.