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Rush Limbaugh asks for return of records

Prosecutors investigating host's use of painkillers
/ Source: The Associated Press

Rush Limbaugh asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to return his medical records to his doctors and permanently keep them from prosecutors investigating his use of painkillers.

The conservative radio commentator alleges that his privacy was violated when the records were seized in 2003 and has fought to keep them sealed. Lower courts have sided with prosecutors, who are investigating whether Limbaugh illegally visited several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions.

Limbaugh wants the state Supreme Court to decide that patients should be notified before their medical records are seized or inspected.

“The state has acknowledged that as a matter of strategy it made no good faith effort to comply with these requirements,” Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, said in a statement.

Prosecutors insist that giving Limbaugh notice of their plan to seize the records would have compromised their investigation. Assistant State Attorney James Martz has said the Legislature has protected law enforcement’s ability to conduct criminal investigations. He had no immediate comment on Thursday.

Limbaugh has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and argues that the case threatens the privacy rights of all Floridians — a point which has drawn the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Limbaugh has not been charged with a crime. Prosecutors must await a final decision on the medical records, which have remained sealed, before they can pursue their investigation.

In October 2003, Limbaugh acknowledged he became addicted to pain medication, blaming it on severe back pain. He took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter rehab.