Okay, this is my second schadenfreude moment of the morning. (The first was sending the Macs getting viruses story to Leo.) But I really can't help myself.
Rush Rung Up for Drug Fraud - Yahoo! News
The state of Florida has written Rush Limbaugh a prescription for staying out of jail. Now he just needs to fill it.
The conservative radio host, whose battle with an addiction to painkillers (as well as the accompanying legal foibles) went public a few years ago, was arrested Friday afternoon on a prescription drug fraud charge, according to Florida law enforcement officials.
Limbaugh turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued by the state attorney's office. Limbaugh, with lawyer Roy Black in tow, had his mug shot taken, was booked and, an hour later, was on his way back to his seaside Palm Beach mansion after forking over $3,000 for bail.
According to state attorney spokeswoman Teri Barbera, the arrest warrant stated that Limbaugh--who may have done more to make OxyContin a brand name than any marketing campaign could have accomplished--had concealed information from doctors in order to obtain prescription medication.
Florida authorities seized a heap of Limbaugh's medical records three years ago after learning that, in a period of six months, he had purchased about 2,000 pills prescribed by four different doctors. The fact that all of the prescriptions were filled at the same pharmacy apparently piqued state prosecutors' interest.
The state attorney concluded that Limbaugh went "doctor shopping," the process of giving different tales of woe to different doctors to get meds more easily. Which, as you may have guessed, is illegal.
Limbaugh, who attracts between 14 and 20 million listeners a week to his nationally syndicated daily talk show, is facing one charge of doctor shopping and has entered a plea of not guilty in court. But, per an agreement with prosecutors, the charge is being held in abeyance--put on hold, in other words--while Limbaugh and the state attorney work out a formal agreement that is set to be officially filed Monday.
Under the terms of the work in progress, Limbaugh will continue going to treatment under the care of the same doctor he's been seeing for the past two and a half years. Once he has completed another 18 months of counseling--and doesn't violate the law in any other way during that time--the Florida court will drop the latest charge against him. He'll pay $30 a month for the court's "supervision."
The 55-year-old Limbaugh will also pony up $30,000 payment for to the state to "defray the public cost of the investigation," according to Black.
"I am pleased to announce that the state attorney's office and Mr. Limbaugh have reached an agreement whereby a single count charge of doctor shopping filed today by the State Attorney will be dismissed in 18 months," Black said in a statement, adding that Limbaugh's current doctor has helped his patient stay addiction-free with no relapses since being under his care.
"Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position," Black said. "Mr. Limbaugh had intended to remain in treatment. Thus, we believe the outcome for him personally will be much as if he had fought the charge and won."
Tony Knight, a spokesman for Limbaugh, told reporters that the radio personality signed the agreement Thursday and that the situation was a "concluded deal."
The state attorney's office has not yet received the signed papers, according to spokesman Mike Edmondson.
"I am not disputing the facts, the conditions that Black represented, but until his client signed the agreement, we don't have a full agreement. I am sure it's just a timeline issue."
Other parties seemed perfectly satisfied with the arrangement.
"I'm pleased that a settlement has been reached between Rush Limbaugh and the state of Florida that finally brings this matter to an end. Rush's not guilty plea is consistent with the position he has taken all along," Premiere Radio Networks President and Chief Operating Officer Kraig Kitchin said in a statement. "Throughout it all, he has continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to his listeners, affiliates, and advertisers. We have always stood by Rush--for good reason--and will continue to do so."
Five years ago Limbaugh underwent surgery to have an electronic device implanted in his skull to restore his hearing after announcing he had lost most of it due to an autoimmune inner-ear disease. Medical research has revealed another potential cause of hearing loss, however--abuse of opiate-based painkillers. Hmmm...
In 2003, Limbaugh announced that he became addicted to the meds while suffering from major back pain, and he entered rehab later that year, taking a five-week break from his radio show. Prior to his admission Limbaugh had derided drug use for years both on TV and on the radio, saying that it was "destroying our country" and that users should be "sent up." (To prison, we presume.)
After his rehab stint, following a tip from Limbaugh's former maid, Wilma Cline, that she and her husband sold her boss pills, authorities investigated the radio host's medical records and turned up excessive prescriptions for OxyContin, Lorcet, Norco and other painkillers; the anxiety drug Xanax; and cholesterol-reducing and blood pressure medications.
Limbaugh protested the alleged invasion of his privacy, but last year the Florida State Supreme Court ruled against his claim, paving the way for further investigation.