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Prosecutors get some Limbaugh medical records

Judge returns rest of files to radio host

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Rush Limbaugh

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Rush Limbaugh

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- After a lengthy legal fight that went all the way to Florida's highest court, a judge Wednesday gave prosecutors some of Rush Limbaugh's private medical records related to his use of prescription drugs. But the judge returned the rest of the records, seized in 2003, to the conservative talk show host.

Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, said the fact that the bulk of Limbaugh's records were returned "proves our point that the state's wholesale seizure of Mr. Limbaugh's medical records was improper."

But Palm Beach County Assistant State Attorney Jim Martz said now that prosecutors have the materials they have been seeking, "the review of those records now goes forward in earnest, despite the many efforts to derail the investigation over the past 19 months."

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Limbaugh, who admitted being addicted to painkillers in October 2003 and underwent treatment, went "doctor-shopping" to illegally obtain prescription drugs from multiple sources.

Investigators executed a warrant to seize his medical records in 2003. Limbaugh and his lawyers challenged the legality of the seizure in court, but the Florida Supreme Court sided with prosecutors in April.

After reviewing the documents, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Thomas Barkdull decided which records would be handed over to prosecutors and which would be returned to Limbaugh.

In a statement, Black said he was confident that prosecutors "will find nothing in these records to support a charge of doctor shopping, because there was no doctor shopping."

Limbaugh's attorney also said the prescription records would show that the radio host was only prescribed an average dose of a little more than eight hydrocodone pills a day over a seven-month period, "which is not excessive and is in fact a lawful dose."

Hydrocodone is a potent painkiller that can become addictive.

Black also said 92 percent of the pain medication was prescribed by two doctors treating Limbaugh for back pain, who both work in the same office. The rest were prescribed by a California surgeon who performed cochlear implant surgery to restore Limbaugh's hearing and a Florida doctor who followed up on the surgery, who also wrote prescriptions for vitamin pills and a medication to combat tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, he said.

"The bottom line is that these prescription records might tell a story, but it is not a story of doctor shopping," Black said.

Limbaugh, whose influential syndicated radio show is broadcast in more than 600 U.S. cities, has repeatedly denied he has violated any laws. He has charged that the investigation is a politically motivated effort by a Democratic prosecutor.

The conservative icon revealed his painkiller addiction after a former employee alleged she illegally sold him painkillers and sold her story to the National Enquirer.

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