I’m getting a lot of e-mails from people who say they’re confused by the media reporting on the latest ruling in my case, and I was going to wait to comment on it if I got a phone call. We haven’t gotten any phone calls about that, so let me use the e-mails as the peg, if you will, around which to try to explain this to you.
It is not nearly as complicated as the reporting has made this out to be. You have to understand, as I have learned, my case is a story just like Iraq is a story and just like anything else is a story, and for the media — particularly the local media here in south Florida — there is an action line, and that action line is: Anything bad for me moves the story forward. Anything that happens favorable to me is not considered news because it doesn’t move the story forward or it doesn’t move the action line.
The action line is that I’m wrong; they’re right, and anything that they twist and turn to fit that template, they will do. Now, on Monday, Judge Crow ruled in a way sort of split the baby. The subject that was being argued in court was that prosecutors went in, and they wanted the judge essentially to let them talk to my doctors.
Now, this is after two years of claiming that they needed my medical records. Remember two years ago they’re out there saying that they already had evidence of ten counts of felony doctor shopping. They already had that. They leaked that to the media. It was all over the place. Everybody assumes that they’ve got that; it’s looking really bad.
Then they demanded to see the medical records and they said, during the appeals process, until they saw the records they wouldn’t know what, if anything, to charge. Well, what about those ten felonies they already had? Well, they didn’t have anything because there aren’t any. So the appeals process goes on and on and on.
They finally get the records. They get the records within the dates of the search warrants, and there’s nothing in those records to show doctor shopping. So they go back to court, say: We need to talk to Limbaugh’s doctors.
Well, there’s a problem. Florida statute says there is confidentiality between a doctor and a patient. It’s called the doctor-patient privilege. It’s like any other privilege that exists, lawyer-client, what have you — and the prosecutors went in and they basically said to the judge: Judge, look, this is silly. We’re investigating a serious crime here, and we can’t talk to the doctors. We don’t have any element of one crime. We don’t have the elements of one crime here ’til we talk to the doctors.
The judge said: Well, the statute says you can’t. There’s a privilege — and the prosecutor said: Well, come on, Judge. Common sense is we can’t go anywhere unless we talk to the doctors.
So that was the argument. We made the argument that the privilege stands no matter what and they can’t compromise it. So the judge in his ruling on Monday said: Well, we’ll let you issue subpoenas because I can’t — the judge said, I can’t — stop you from issuing subpoenas.
There was a two-pronged ruling. You can subpoena the doctors. Now they wanted to subpoena the doctors under what’s called ex parte, which means they want to issue subpoenas to talk to the doctors to go fishing to see if they can find evidence of a crime.
The judge said: You can’t do that. You can’t talk to the doctors about Mr. Limbaugh’s condition unless he waives that privilege — which of course I haven’t and won’t.
They said: Well, we want you to waive it for us, Judge, because we can’t move our investigation forward.
So we all waited on the ruling. That ruling came Monday. The judge said: You can go ahead and subpoena the doctors, but you cannot ask them one thing about Limbaugh’s medical condition. You cannot ask them one thing about what they said to him or what Limbaugh said to the doctors.
So the press goes to the state attorney’s office and their spokesman says: We got what we wanted. We can subpoena the doctors.
That’s why you saw reports that the prosecution won. They said: We got what we wanted. We can subpoena the doctors.
Well, they can subpoena the doctors all day, but they can’t talk to the doctors about anything they said in court that they wanted to talk to them about. They just can’t — unless they cheat, unless there’s nobody in there to ride herd on them, unless there’s nobody getting a transcript. They can’t do it.
Now, they can bring the doctors in and I have no doubt they’ll try to intimidate them and frighten them into saying something, but they can’t do it. So they didn’t win anything, but it was reported to the press as a win because “subpoena the doctors” moved the action line forward. It advanced the story along the lines of the media, the local media, is interested in being advanced.
But they — the true definition of this is, it was two parts.
I can’t stop you from subpoenaing the doctors, the judge said, but nothing has changed. The statute is the statute, and I can’t change it, and you can’t get any personal information from Limbaugh or his doctors without them waiving the privilege, which hasn’t been waived.
So the bottom line to this is, if you want to know the truth: This prosecutor has said in open court: We have not one element of any crime. He has said: We don’t know what, if anything, to charge until we see the records.
They got the records. They’ve had the records since May. They can’t find any crime. Now they want to talk to the doctors. It’s a clear fishing expedition. They can’t talk to the doctors. They can subpoena them. They can bring them in. They can ask the time of day. They can ask the doctors how they conduct their office procedures, but they can’t discuss a thing about me. They can’t ask them, and the doctors don’t have to answer.
So the upshot of this is that this is a loss for these people, but in this case, since this is not really a legal proceeding anymore. They’re gonna go — I don’t know this, but I would bet you they’re going to — try to bring in a doctor or two and try to intimidate them and see what they can make out of it, and they’ll report that and the media will move the story forward and so forth, and people will be waiting with bated breath.
Much of the confusion on this has come from the spokesman for the state attorney’s office and much of the confusion, most of it’s been, on the TV side. Because here is what TV has widely reported, and this is wholly inaccurate. The TV has reported this: ?Florida prosecutors are claiming a small victory in the Rush Limbaugh case. A judge has ruled the prosecutors can subpoena Limbaugh’s doctors if the discussion is relevant to the prosecution of a crime, but they won’t be able to look at Limbaugh’s medical records.? Well, the state has based its whole case on the medical records. So if they can’t look at the medical records, and if there’s nothing in them anyway that gives them a crime — and they’ve admitted this in open court — then they’re blocked. There’s nowhere to go. But the press, all they heard was: We can subpoena the doctors, and we can talk to them, and if it’s relevant to the pursuit of crime, why, we can talk.
Bammo! That fits the action line and moves the story forward.
Now, this records argument is what the state attorney’s office made in court but they essentially lost that. They were given the records [last July], but then they were told after that [Monday]: You can’t talk to the doctors about what’s in the records.
This was — you don’t know all this because I haven’t given you… Well, it is actually on the website, if you want to follow the follow the progression of events here. But I understand the confusion, and the confusion is simply the way it’s been reported.
My attorney, Roy Black, put out a statement and we put it on the PR Newswire on my website, and it spells this out in crystal clear fashion. But one of the things that happened, we put out a statement and the state attorney’s office had a live voice talking, and as far as the media is concerned, a live voice talking carries more weight than a printed statement, and that live voice from the state attorney said: We got what we wanted. We can subpoena the doctors, period — and so that moves the action line forward. That advances the story along the lines local media wants it to be advanced, which is: They’re going to get Limbaugh.
And, of course, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. It’s been over 26 months now — 26 months — and two or three times the prosecutor’s gone into open court and said: I don’t have evidence of a crime. We don’t know what, if anything, to charge ’til we see the records.
Then they saw the records. Now that’s not enough. Now they want to talk to the doctors, but they can’t talk to the doctors about me or my condition or what I said. Yet it’s all been portrayed as a victory for the prosecutors.
I mean, you go figure it out. It’s no different than the way the Iraq war is being reported. It’s no different than the way half the other news in the country is being reported. The amazing thing is there’s nothing we can do about it. We can play the process out and keep responding to these people as they take their aggressive action. But it’s what the legal process has become. You know, people trying to criminalize political enemies, and it’s taken on a life of its own.
I go back: You know, I came out of the rehabilitation center in November, two years ago, and the first week I’m greeted with this news that they’ve got ten counts already. Before they’d even seen the medical records, they’ve got ten counts of felony doctor shopping.
Where…? I know that this is BS, but of course it’s in the media, everybody believes prosecutors never lie. Why would they go to the trouble? They always — everybody, it’s just human, everybody does, everybody — believes prosecutors tell the truth. Well, what happened to those ten counts if they go to court, all these: We don’t have any evidence of the crime. We need to talk to the doctors. We don’t know what, if anything, to charge, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And now this ruling on Monday: Yeah, you can subpoena the doctors, the judge says, because I can’t stop you from issuing subpoenas, but you can’t talk to them about what you want talk to them about. [But] you cannot ask them what you want to ask them about, and yet it gets reported in the press as a big victory.
That’s the source of the confusion.
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