WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A judge gave some of Rush Limbaugh's (search) medical records to prosecutors Wednesday, allowing their long-stalled investigation into whether the conservative commentator illegally purchased painkillers to move forward.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Barkdull III (search) returned other of Limbaugh's records to his attorney, Roy Black, who had argued some of the records contained privileged, even embarrassing, details about medical procedures, symptoms and other issues unrelated to the criminal investigation.
None of the records' contents were revealed.
After the hearing, Black said he believed the records given to the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office would not support a criminal charge.
Limbaugh has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, which became public in November 2003 after investigators used search warrants to seize his medical records.
"The records show that Mr. Limbaugh received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons," Black said in a statement.
Prosecutors seized the records after learning Limbaugh received painkillers from four doctors in six months at a Palm Beach pharmacy near his oceanfront mansion. They have said the records will prove Limbaugh engaged in "doctor shopping," or illegally deceiving multiple doctors to receive overlapping prescriptions.
"The review of those records now goes forward in earnest," the state attorney's office said in a statement.
Limbaugh acknowledged an addiction to pain medication, attributing it to severe back pain, and took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program in October 2003.
The medical records have remained sealed since investigators seized them because Limbaugh appealed, arguing the seizure violated his privacy rights.
He lost at the circuit and appellate court levels, and the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The appeals, however, put off the investigation for more than 19 months.
Limbaugh has accused Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer (search), a Democrat, of a "fishing expedition" that's politically motivated.
The state attorney's office declined further comment and gave no indication how long the investigation would take.