Watch the Exchange from Monday Night…<a href=”http://mfile.akamai.com/5020/wmv/rushlimb.download.akamai.com/5020/Video/levin.asx”>Video></a>
Joe Scarborough: Rush Limbaugh has come out swinging. He’s accusing the Palm Beach prosecutor’s office of conducting a political witch hunt. This is what he told his audience earlier.
Rush Archive: Seems there was a judge in 2002 that was addicted to painkillers for eight years. He admitted his problem, went to rehab, he left the court, had some problems after rehab. There was no investigation. There was no seizing of medical records. His doctors’ offices were not raided, and the media is ignoring it. They all know about it, but they are ignoring it. So it just points out the special treatment and the different treatment that certain people get in the legal system here. In this case it was a judge.
Scarborough: Let’s bring in Susan Spencer Wendell. You’re covering Rush’s case for the Palm Beach Post, and you broke the original story of the judge that had the drug problem in Palm Beach. Is there a double standard that’s being used against Rush Limbaugh that was not used against this judge a few years back?
Susan Spencer-Wendel: I’m not here to speak about whether exactly there’s a double standard at play here. I came to talk specifically about the judge’s case and what little bit of investigation did happen after his case. He was not criminally investigated as Mr. Limbaugh has been, but judicial qualifications commission members came in, did review his medical records. Those medical records, though, were shown to the commission review members by Mr. Schwartz’s family himself. His wife told me today his medical records were made available for this judicial review. So that’s an important sort of distinction. There’s a couple distinct things about the judge’s situation that are important to note I think publicly, and that is, one, that this judge was the patient of a doctor who his family says was the only doctor that he saw, a doctor that was later charged in the manslaughter death, overdose death of another patient, ended up serving a year in jail as the result of another patient’s death. So, answering as to whether there’s a double standard at play, there’s two different sets of facts at play to evaluate.
Scarborough: I want to read for you what Rush Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, said about the developments. He said, quote, “After admitting an eight-year addiction, judge Schwartz entered treatment voluntarily and was praised by the community, not investigated and never prosecuted by the Palm Beach state attorney’s office. All we’re asking that Rush Limbaugh be treated the same.” Have you or anybody from the Palm Beach Post or any papers down there that you know of, have they gotten an answer from the Palm Beach attorney’s office, state attorney’s office as to why they didn’t prosecute this doctor and why they’re going after Rush Limbaugh? Anything on the record yet?
Spencer-Wendel: No. The Palm Beach prosecutor’s office directed me to speak with the chief judge of our judicial circuit about the matter, because he’s the person who oversaw the judicial investigation of the judge who referred him to the JQC. And that judge has told me in the past that no investigation was ever undertaken because no criminal allegation ever came to light. In their review of the records, in their investigation, they are, I mean not law enforcement, but judicial qualifications, commission members, no criminal allegation ever came to light.
Spencer-Wendel: Is it illegal to be an addict? That is, you know, something people are mulling over now as they review this whole situation. If a public elected official admits that they are addicted to prescription pain medication, does that immediately necessitate a criminal investigation?
Scarborough: Well, let’s bring in Florida State senator Mandy Dawson. And senator, you were charged with felony prescription drug fraud, but you entered a pretrial intervention program and were not charged. But you’re not happy with Rush Limbaugh mentioning your case as an example of another double standard. Why is that?
Mandy Dawson: Well, first of all, my case is definitely different from Rush’s situation. It was quite public that I had had major surgery and I had a physician and actually had a prescription that was given to me by my physician. So there was no question as to whether or not I was supposed to have a prescription or for pain medication or what.
Scarborough: So do you think Rush Limbaugh is being held to a higher standard than you and this judge?
Dawson: Well, you know, the differences that I can see so far is, you know, I was arrested and Rush hasn’t been arrested. And I think that the difficulty is that he has for some time been very harsh on any type of drug offenses, and, uh, so if there is a double standard, he’s probably gotten away with a lot more than I certainly was able to get away with.
Scarborough: Let’s bring in Mark Levin. He’s from the Landmark Legal Foundation. Mark, you’ve actually filed an ethics complaint against the prosecutors, and you’re accusing them of journalist shopping for leaking stories to the press. Do you believe there’s a double standard that’s being employed against Rush Limbaugh?
Mark Levin: Yeah, I hear one right now. This judge’s medical records were not seized via search warrant; he voluntarily turned them over to a judicial review committee, because he’s a judge and they wanted to see if he’s competent to remain there, so that case shows a double standard. As for this state senator, one of the arguments she makes is Rush has been harsh on addicts or something in the past. I think they can dig up one line. As if that’s a legitimate basis for a prosecutor to seize somebody’s confidential medical records which since the Circuit Court has placed back under seal, removed them from the prosecutor, the prosecutor could barely wait to get them to put Rush’s drug prescriptions on a website.
I don’t know if the state senator had that done to her. I don’t know if she had leaked that she was involved in money laundering or a drug ring. All these things have been done to Rush. And on top of that, as you know, we have filed an ethics complaint alleging that they created a false record through a memorandum, based on comments they received and solicited from two top ethics officials in Florida, both the Florida bar and the attorney’s general’s office have challenged what the prosecutor put in that record, yet it was released in part as a justification for releasing confidential communications between Rush’s lawyer and the prosecutor’s office.
Scarborough: Well, Mark, the question is about this double standard, why do you believe there would be a double standard against Rush Limbaugh compared to this judge or the senator?
Levin: Well, because both of them were Democrats, let’s cut to the chase here. Mr. Krischer is an elected partisan Democrat, he’s up for election again, he talks through his spokespeople. You asked a very legitimate question, what does Mr. Krischer say. Mr. Krischer never gets up to a microphone and holds a press conference and addresses any of these issues. Instead, he has his guy Mike Edmondson going out, talking off the record, on the record, other people talking for them. It’s a very, very nasty situation down there in Palm Beach County.
Scarborough: So we have this again, do you have any evidence at all that this judge who had this prescription drug problem with the same drug that Rush had, that he was ever investigated at all by any law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County, other than this judicial review board? Which, again, they don’t investigate criminal activity as far as I know.
Levin: No, they don’t. They don’t. And to the best of my knowledge, reading Susan’s stories, and she is a good reporter, he has not been.
Scarborough: All right. Thank you so much, Mark. Mark Levin.
Spencer-Wendel: Nor to my knowledge as well. Could I just interject one thing, though, I’d like to note that the judge’s family was telling me that he, while is not registered with either political party, he was actually a conservative and a big fan of Rush Limbaugh’s show. That’s important to note.
Levin: Yeah, everybody’s a fan of Rush Limbaugh, that’s right.
Scarborough: Well, not everybody, but he does have 20 million listeners, and apparently-
Levin: Suddenly the prosecutor’s office and these other people are big fans of Rush
Limbaugh. I would say Palm Beach County’s probably not exactly a hotbed of dittoheads, but that could just be my own surmise.
Scarborough: But of course it is the home of Rush’s Southern Command.