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Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

People in the news

July 6, 2006

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No charges for Limbaugh

West Palm Beach, Fla. - Rush Limbaugh will not face charges in Palm Beach County for the bottle of Viagra found in his luggage that was prescribed in his psychologist's name, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Charges could have nullified the conservative radio host's plea agreement in a "doctor shopping" case, in which authorities had accused Limbaugh of illegally deceiving multiple doctors to get overlapping painkiller prescriptions. The charge was deferred for 18 months, so long as Limbaugh does not get arrested for any reason.

Limbaugh, 55, was detained for more than three hours at Palm Beach International Airport on June 26 after he returned on his private plane from a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

The state attorney's office said the medication was prescribed by Limbaugh's cardiologist, Dr. Steven Schnur, to Limbaugh's psychologist and addiction counselor, Steve Strumwasser. Strumwasser then provided the Viagra to Limbaugh, said state attorney spokesman Mike Edmondson.

Strumwasser told authorities he "agreed to have his name on the label in an effort to avoid potentially embarrassing publicity for the suspect," according to the state attorney's office filing. "Thus, the medication contained in the subject pill bottle was legitimately prescribed to the suspect by his physician."

It is generally not illegal under Florida law for a physician to prescribe medication in a third party's name if all parties are aware and the doctor documents it correctly, Edmondson said.

Sheik pardons producer

Atlanta - R&B producer Dallas Austin has been released from a jail in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after being pardoned on drug charges.

"He is on the plane and safely out of the country," Austin's lawyer, Joel A. Katz, said in an e-mail Wednesday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum pardoned Austin on Tuesday, hours after the Grammy-winning producer was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine.

A court sentenced Austin, who has created tunes for Madonna and Janet Jackson, for possessing 1.26 grams of cocaine, his defense team said. The court also ruled that Austin should be deported after serving his prison term.

Austin told the court Sunday that he made an unintentional mistake and did not mean to break the law in the United Arab Emirates.

He had been held without bail at Dubai's al-Rashidiya Police Station since his arrest May 19 at Dubai's airport.

Austin has several hits to his credit, including Pink's "Just Like a Pill" and TLC's "Unpretty." He won a Grammy Award for best R&B album in 1999 for producing TLC's multiplatinum "Fanmail."

Swank discusses divorce

New York - Hilary Swank, who is divorcing actor-husband Chad Lowe, says Lowe's "substance-abuse problem" was partly responsible for the breakup of their marriage, in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine.

"I knew something was happening, but I didn't know what," the Oscar-winning actress tells the magazine in its August issue. "When I found out, it was such a shock because I never thought he'd keep something from me. And yet, on another level, it was a confirmation of something I was feeling that was keeping us from being completely solid."

Swank, 31, says Lowe is "sober now."

"It's an enormous obstacle to overcome, and he's doing it. He's living a sober life. I know how difficult it is, and I'm really proud of his sobriety," she tells the magazine.

Swank and Lowe, 38, who have no children, were married in 1997.

Swank says she's not ready to start dating again.

'Survivor' winner arrested

Atlanta - A winner of the popular reality show "Survivor" was arrested Wednesday after allegedly shooting a puppy with an arrow.

Brian Heidik, 38, was released on bond after being charged with battery and cruelty to animals.

During the bond hearing in Douglas County Magistrate Court, Heidik told a judge he thought the dog was a coyote that has been harassing his pets, WSB-TV reported on its Web site.

Douglas County Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said it was a puppy.

"At about 3 a.m., his wife called to report that he was outside and that he had shot a puppy that was on his property with an arrow and planned to shoot another one," Copeland said.

When sheriff's deputies arrived, Heidik - who won "Survivor: Thailand" in 2002 - fled in his car but was quickly caught and taken back to the home where the incident occurred.

Both the wounded puppy and the second puppy were turned over to animal control officials to determine who they belonged to.

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