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Court Orders State to Surrender Limbaugh Records

An appeals court on Tuesday ordered prosecutors to turn Rush Limbaugh's (search) medical records over to the courts and keep them sealed until further review.

The court also ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union (search) can join the conservative talk show host in fighting to keep the documents private, creating an unlikely alliance in the case.

Prosecutors say their investigation is stalled until they are able to review the medical records, which they seized in November. They obtained search warrants for the files after learning Limbaugh received more than 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach (search) mansion.

Limbaugh's attorneys argue that the seizure violated Limbaugh's privacy and that the investigation was politically motivated. No criminal charges have been filed against Limbaugh.

The ACLU joined the case Monday in support of the claim that Limbaugh's constitutional right to privacy has been violated.

State Attorney Barry Krischer has repeatedly insisted that Limbaugh's rights have been protected. A spokesman, Mike Edmondson, said Tuesday that investigators have followed state laws since beginning their investigation last year, after Limbaugh's former maid told them she was his longtime drug supplier.

Courts have ruled twice before to keep the records sealed pending appeals, though prosecutors had a brief opportunity to review the documents on Dec. 22.

"The state's seizure of Mr. Limbaugh's private medical records without following the due process defined in Florida law is a threat to everyone's fundamental privacy right," his lawyer, Roy Black, said in a statement Tuesday.

Black has said the records will only show that Limbaugh suffered from a serious medical condition.

Limbaugh admitted his addiction to prescription painkillers in October, saying it stemmed from severe back pain. He took a five-week leave from his afternoon radio show to enter a rehabilitation program.

The appeals court ordered prosecutors to surrender the records to a circuit court and keep them sealed until it rules otherwise.