WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to consider an appeal from commentator Rush Limbaugh (search) claiming his privacy was violated when his medical records were seized for an investigation of whether he illegally purchased painkillers.
The 4-3 order did not explain the court's reasoning.
Limbaugh's attorney had also objected to the use of search warrants to obtain the medical records in 2003. The documents have remain sealed, pending the outcome of Limbaugh's appeals.
A prosecution spokesman declined to say when his office might begin reviewing the records.
The court said it would not consider any motions for a review of the order, so it was unclear whether Limbaugh has any further legal recourse to stop the investigation.
Limbaugh took a break from his radio show Thursday for a doctor's appointment and did not comment on the ruling. The show has 20 million listeners a week, and is heard on nearly 600 radio stations.
"He has not been charged with a crime, and he should not be charged. His medical records will show that he received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons," Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black (search), said in a statement.
Prosecutors seized the records after learning that Limbaugh had received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors over six months, at a pharmacy near his oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach (search).
The conservative commentator has maintained his innocence while acknowledging an addiction to painkillers that he said started after he developed severe back pain. He argues that the case threatens privacy rights for all Floridians — a point that has drawn support from the American Civil Liberties Union — and accuses Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, of leading a politically motivated investigation.
Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office, described the case as an "ongoing criminal investigation." He declined to comment further.