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Limbaugh's attorney lashes out at prosecutors over plea release

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

MIAMI -- Rush Limbaugh's attorney lashed out at the prosecutor in his prescription drug case Monday and said the conservative radio commentator's use of painkillers was not excessive for someone suffering chronic back pain.

Attorney Roy Black went into the greatest detail yet on Limbaugh's painkiller use and his reasons for taking the prescription drugs.

While prosecutor's records said Limbaugh got prescriptions for about 2,000 pills in six months, Black said the radio host obtained around 1,800 pills in a seven-month period. Black said the average of 8.5 pills per day was "nothing extraordinary."

"There is nothing good about suffering. There is nothing good about not being able to get out of bed without medication," Black said. "People are allowed to have medication for pain that cannot be corrected by surgery. That is the case with Mr. Limbaugh."

Black also criticized prosecutor Barry Krischer for releasing letters last week detailing plea discussions in the case -- a response to a request by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel under Florida's broad public records law.

The letters showed that prosecutors rejected a deal suggested by Black in December that would have sent Limbaugh to a drug-intervention program rather than face criminal charges for illegally obtaining painkillers.

Instead, prosecutors wanted Limbaugh to plead guilty to a felony of "doctor shopping" -- visiting several doctors in Florida and California to receive duplicate prescriptions of a controlled narcotic.

Mike Edmondson, spokesman for Krischer, responded Monday that the office stood by its release of the letters Friday after calls to the state attorney general's office and the Florida Bar Association.

Krischer said in a phone call to the Bar Association's ethics staff Thursday that the attorney general's office told him the letters "are not normally to be revealed," according to bar association notes of the call released Monday by Black.

But Edmondson said "the attorney general's office was not equivocal at all on it."

JoAnn Carrin, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, acknowledged the office "got a call on a hypothetical public records issue" in the Limbaugh investigation but would say nothing more.

Prosecutors began their investigation of Limbaugh, 53, after his former maid said last year that she was his longtime supplier of prescription painkillers. No charges have been filed.

Plea discussions began about a week before Limbaugh stunned listeners in October by admitting his addiction on the air and entering rehab for five weeks.


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