HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Limbaugh Deal Avoids Drug Prosecution, Defense Says
Pubdate: Sat, 29 Apr 2006
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2006 Los Angeles Times
Author: Sam Howe, staff writer
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was booked on drug charges in
Florida on Friday, and his lawyer said that Limbaugh had agreed to a
deal enabling him to avoid prosecution in the prescription abuse case
if he continued treatment for addiction problems and avoided any other
run-ins with the law.

Limbaugh, a conservative darling and liberal bete noire, was booked,
photographed and fingerprinted in Palm Beach, Fla., then shortly
thereafter released on a $3,000 bond, according to a posting on the
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office website. A spokesman said there
would be no further comment.

The apparent deal caps a three-year investigation into allegations
originally aired by a housekeeper at Limbaugh's Palm Beach mansion, who told
the National Enquirer that the radio host had abused OxyContin and other

Prosecutors began looking into potential "doctor shopping" by
Limbaugh, who received about 2,000 pain pills prescribed by four
doctors over a six-month period - all from a pharmacy near the Palm
Beach house. The charge on the sheriff's website was listed as "fraud
- - conceal info to obtain prescription."

Limbaugh admitted on the air to being addicted to painkillers, and
told listeners he was entering a rehabilitation program. He took a
five-week leave.

Although many of his fans voiced sympathy and support, detractors saw
hypocrisy, noting that Limbaugh had been a staunch proponent of
cracking down on drug users.

"Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country," Limbaugh said
in October 1995 on a television show he had at the time. "And so, if
people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused
and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

Limbaugh's lawyer, Roy Black, said in a statement Friday: "Mr. Limbaugh
and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping,
and we continue to hold this position."

Black said Limbaugh had pleaded not guilty and had willingly agreed to
continue treatment for his painkiller addiction.

Black said that the deal with prosecutors called for the fraud charge
to be dropped in 18 months if Limbaugh complied with all court
guidelines, and that Limbaugh would pay $30,000 to defray the state's
investigation costs and $30 a month for "supervision" of his treatment.

Prosecutors could not be reached for comment late Friday. But legal
analysts said it appeared Limbaugh had eluded any criminal conviction
in the much-publicized case.

"They slapped his hand, and that's all," said Debra Opri, a celebrity
lawyer and frequent television analyst.

"So absolutely it's a victory for Limbaugh," Opri said.

"He doesn't have to stand trial. He just gets to say, 'Hey, I'll keep
my nose clean. I don't have any priors, and I don't anticipate any
futures.' And that's it. He walks."
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