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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Judge: State Can Unseal Rush Limbaugh Medical Records

Aired December 23, 2003 - 10:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We have got some breaking news now coming into the CNN Center. As I mentioned, a few minutes ago, we were waiting for a verdict to whether the state would be able to unseal Rush Limbaugh's medical records to be part of a prosecution in his case as to whether he illegally purchased painkillers, an important case in the terms of right to privacy.
CNN's Susan Candiotti is covering this story from our bureau in Miami.

Susan, what are you hearing now about the verdict.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, you can call this one a win for the prosecutors in this case, who are investigating possible criminal activity involving Rush Limbaugh, and whether he illegally purchased prescription painkillers. The decision was just made by a judge in this case that will allow, that will allow, investigators in this case to open up medical records, which they seized earlier this month. The issue that had been at hand here and questioned was whether prosecutors properly seized those medical records. By law, they're not allowed to look at them until they have permission from the courts.

And the defense attorneys representing Rush Limbaugh had argued that improper procedure had taken place, and that his right to privacy had been invaded -- Carol.

LIN: All right. Did the judge -- do you have any information on what basis the judge made this decision, to determine that the investigators did properly seize the records, and that his privacy was not invaded?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, in this case, the judge agreed with the investigators that they would be allowed to read the medical records, because the judge agreed with the state that in order for them to conduct their investigation, they agreed and prosecutors had argued that reading these records would be relevant and necessary in order for prosecutors to complete their criminal investigation into whether Rush Limbaugh was what's called doctor shopping for prescription drugs.

LIN: All right, Susan, do you know whether the judge issued any guidelines to how the records should be treated, whether only a certain number of people would be able to read them? Would information actually be presented in open court?

CANDIOTTI: At this stage, Carol, the judge is only going to allow the prosecutors to review the medical records. They will be sealed from the public, and for now, only the authorities will be able to examine them, and no one else.

LIN: All right. Thank you very much, Susan. I know you're just getting the information in. You are going to be will be working the story throughout the day. Than you very much.

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