rush limbaugh busted
via - pbso blotter
"There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. 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."
Unless of course, it's you, right?
Limbaugh, prosecutors can declare victory in deal
By BRIAN SKOLOFF
Associated Press Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Three years under suspicion, Rush Limbaugh can finally put behind him an investigation that exposed the conservative commentator's own drug problems and thrust him into the spotlight for the very things he derided in others on his radio talk show.
None of it affected his ratings for a show that airs weekdays on nearly 600 stations and draws about 20 million listeners a week, Limbaugh spokesman Tony Knight said.
"This investigation didn't have any impact on his audience or on his advertising," Knight said Saturday, a day after defense attorneys announced a deal with prosecutors that will see a single prescription fraud charge dismissed after 18 months if Limbaugh stays drug free and doesn't violate any laws.
Prosecutors launched their investigation in 2003 after Limbaugh's housekeeper alleged he abused OxyContin and other painkillers. Limbaugh entered a five-week rehabilitation program and blamed his addiction on severe back pain.
Authorities seized Limbaugh's medical records and learned he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months. The investigation had been in limbo as prosecutors and defense attorney Roy Black battled over whether the records were properly seized in accordance with Limbaugh's constitutional right to privacy.
The arguments failed at the circuit and appellate court levels, and the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
But is the deal a victory for Limbaugh?
"This is a dismissal of the charge ... representing, in affect, a win for the defense," said Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney and prominent Miami defense lawyer.
"Having said that, I wouldn't call this case a major defeat for the prosecution. They fought and won an important legal point in establishing that you can use a search warrant in Florida to secure medical records," Coffey added. "That's an important precedent for prosecutors around the state. This could be the rare situation where both sides made a deal and can walk away feeling some satisfaction."
Michael Seigel, a University of Florida law professor and former federal prosecutor, said the deal also allows Limbaugh "to save face."
"Given the high profile nature of this, it's an indication to me that if Rush Limbaugh thought he could win the case and be vindicated, he would go to trial," Seigel said. "He's not asking for his day in court."
Meanwhile, the political blogosphere was alight with banter about Limbaugh's case.
"Raise yourself a cold one at the end of an interesting week. Rush Limbaugh ... was arrested on a fraud charge," wrote one person on the liberal site The Left Coaster.
A blogger on The Conservative Trail Head referred to the "ridiculous charges," calling the case "bogus."
The 55-year-old commentator surrendered Friday at the Palm Beach County jail on a warrant charging that in 2003, Limbaugh withheld information from a practitioner from whom he sought a prescription that he had received medications from another practitioner within 30 days, in violation of Florida law.
The charge is commonly referred to as doctor shopping and is a third-degree felony that could carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
Limbaugh was booked, photographed and fingerprinted before posting $3,000 bail and being released.
Under the terms of the deal called a pretrial diversion, to be filed Monday, Limbaugh will be cleared of the charge if he stays clean for 18 months, doesn't violate any laws, pays $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation and continues therapy and drug testing, according to Black, who called the charge a formality to bring closure to the case.
Black said Limbaugh has been drug free for 2 1/2 years.
Limbaugh has publicly acknowledged being addicted to pain medication but has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
Mike Edmondson, spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, said the pending deal is typical in such cases.
"It's really standard for someone who is dealing with their addiction," Edmondson said Saturday. "It's a diversion specifically for first time offenders with no prior criminal history or arrest."
Before his own problems became public, Limbaugh had lambasted drug users and often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment, once saying on his short-lived television show in 1995 that users "ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."
"There's always a challenge of trying to treat a celebrity like a Joe Schmo, but this a Joe Schmo outcome," Coffey said.
Ethan Nadelmann, director of the nonprofit New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which promotes treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders, applauded the resolution.
"Maybe this will soften up Rush Limbaugh a bit when he talks on the radio about the millions of other Americans who are suffering from drug problems," Nadelmann said.