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State seeks access to Limbaugh's medical records

From Susan Candiotti and Rich Phillips

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh

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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The state attorney investigating radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh Friday requested that a judge unseal Limbaugh's medical records because they are vital to a criminal investigation.

The motion was in response to one Limbaugh's attorneys filed on his behalf seeking to keep the records out of the hands of prosecutors investigating whether their client illegally purchased prescription painkillers.

The records were seized from two of Limbaugh's doctors' offices last month, and the search warrants itemizing what was seized were filed in court December 4.

Investigators obtained, but did not execute two other search warrants, two law enforcement sources said.

Limbaugh filed his motion as prosecutors prepared to file a one of their own to examine the records, as required by Florida law, prosecutors have said.

In the response to Limbaugh's motion, lead prosecutor, James Martz, stated prosecutors are entitled to view the records because they are relevant to a criminal investigation. Prosecutors promised that the records will not be made public.

Florida law allows for the seizing of such records as part of a criminal investigation if a judge determines they are relevant.

Rush Limbaugh
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Limbaugh has admitted a prescription painkiller addiction, which he says he is trying to break. He went off the air for five weeks beginning in October to enter a drug treatment program.

In their court pleading Tuesday, Limbaugh's lawyers, Roy Black and Mark A.J. Shapiro, argued that the court should protect Limbaugh's doctor-patient confidentiality.

"No citizen would wish these highly personal details to be held by minions of the state to finger through at their leisure. Nor would any sane person wish his medical diagnosis and medical prescriptions to be widely published on television shows, tabloid newspapers, Web sites and the like," they stated.

According to court documents and prosecutors, a multi-agency money-laundering task force is investigating whether Limbaugh went "doctor shopping" to satisfy his addiction to painkillers. Doctor shopping -- getting several doctors to write prescriptions for the same or similar medicine in the same time period -- is a felony under Florida law.

Law enforcement sources say investigators also are examining Limbaugh's bank withdrawals to see if he was hiding possible illegal payments for drugs his housekeeper alleges she sold him.

In court documents, investigators say Limbaugh obtained about 2,000 pills during five months, sometimes getting multiple prescriptions less than a month apart.

Limbaugh has insisted he has done nothing illegal and is not part of a drug ring.

Spokesman Mike Edmundson of the Palm Beach County state attorney's office said he had no comment on Limbaugh's motion.

Edmundson referred to an earlier statement by State Attorney Barry Krischer in which he said Limbaugh remains under investigation, adding, "Limbaugh is presumed innocent at this time."

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