WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Rush Limbaugh's (search) attorney accused a prosecutor Friday of having political motives for investigating whether the conservative radio commentator bought painkillers illegally.
In search warrants released Thursday, investigators alleged that Limbaugh engaged in illegal drug use and went "doctor shopping" for prescription painkillers.
Investigators said they were looking for medical, insurance and appointment records for Limbaugh as well as cash receipts and prescription forms during raids of two doctors' offices Nov. 25. The warrants say Limbaugh "alternated physicians to obtain overlapping prescriptions" and failed to tell each doctor that he was seeing others."
Limbaugh denied any wrongdoing to listeners on his show Thursday. Reading from a statement prepared by his attorney, Roy Black, Limbaugh said medical records will clear him.
"What these records show is that Mr. Limbaugh suffered extreme pain and had legitimate reasons for taking pain medication," Limbaugh read. "Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he is being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure."
Black said Friday that Limbaugh didn't become a target of State Attorney Barry Krischer's painkiller probe until the National Enquirer (search) quoted Limbaugh's maid in October saying she had unlawfully sold Limbaugh such medications.
"Suddenly an elected public official could not ignore the name Rush Limbaugh," Black said on NBC's "Today" show. Black is also a paid NBC commentator. "They are looking to publicly embarrass him and affect his radio program. ... Why is Rush Limbaugh the only person treated like this in America?"
Krischer's spokesman Mike Edmondson said Friday that the prosecutor stands by an earlier statement that Limbaugh's rights have been scrupulously protected.
Krischer said Thursday, "Whether Mr. Limbaugh is subject to prosecution for any crimes is still under investigation. Mr. Limbaugh is presumed innocent."
Prosecutors began investigating in December 2002 after Limbaugh's former maid, Wilma Cline, told them she sold Limbaugh "large quantities of hydrocodone, Oxycontin and other pharmaceutical drugs in Palm Beach County over the course of many years."
Cline provided investigators with e-mails and answering machine recordings to support her claims, according to the warrants, filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
The medical offices were raided after investigators examined records from Palm Beach pharmacies near Limbaugh's $24 million oceanfront mansion that they say support the doctor-shopping allegations.
The records seized list prescriptions for more than 2,000 pills from March 24 through Sept. 26. The medications include the powerful painkillers Oxycontin (search), Lorcet, Norco, hydrocodone and Kadian. In addition, Limbaugh received prescriptions for the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and Clonodine (search), used to treat high blood pressure.
Two of the four search warrants were executed at the offices of Jupiter Outpatient Surgery Center. A third was executed at Palm Beach Ear, Nose and Throat Association in Palm Beach Gardens. A fourth for the same location has not yet been executed.
The physicians named in the warrants are Nathaniel Drourr, Antonio De La Cruz, Lawrence Deziel and John Murray.
Drourr and officials at both centers declined comment, citing privacy laws. Murray did not return a phone call seeking comment, and the other doctors could not be immediately reached.
Limbaugh was absent from his show for five weeks recently while spending time at a drug rehabilitation program because of his addiction to prescription painkillers.
Previously, law enforcement sources in Palm Beach County confirmed that a criminal investigation into a prescription drug ring involved Limbaugh.
Last month, a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said authorities also were investigating the money trail related to Limbaugh's drug purchases.
Limbaugh allegedly withdrew cash 30 to 40 times at amounts just under the $10,000 limit that requires a bank to report the transaction to the federal government.