Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2004

Prosecutors decline Limbaugh’s offer of drug program

January 24, 2004

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— Prosecutors rejected a proposed deal offered by Rush Limbaugh's attorney that would have seen the radio commentator enter a court-sponsored drug intervention program rather than face charges, according to records.

Instead, Palm Beach County prosecutors wanted Limbaugh to plead guilty to the third-degree felony of "doctor shopping" -- visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions of a controlled narcotic.

According to records of exchanges between prosecutors and Limbaugh's attorney, the prosecutors' offer included three years of probation, participation in a drug treatment program and random drug testing.

Limbaugh, who has admitted that he became addicted to prescription painkillers while being treated for a back injury, has not been arrested, and no charges have been filed.

The records were first obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel through a public records request and disclosed in a story the newspaper published Friday.

In an attempt to head off charges, Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, wrote prosecutors on Dec. 11 to suggest that his client enter a court-sponsored drug intervention program without a guilty plea.

"I believe this proposal would be in keeping with the public interest," Black wrote. "The public is better served by treating addicts as patients rather than criminals."

Prosecutor James Martz wrote back on Dec. 15 that an intervention program alone was not sufficient. He wrote that prosecutors had enough evidence to support more than 10 felony counts.

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