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SCARBOROUGH: Is there a double standard of justice in the Palm Beach prosecutor’s office when it comes to Rush Limbaugh? Well, Rush Limbaugh thinks so, and this is what he said.
RUSH AUDIO SOUND BITE: ?Seems there was a judge in 2002 that was addicted to painkillers for eight years. He admitted his problem, went to rehab, they had to — he left the court, had some problems after rehab. There was no investigation. There were 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: With us now is Roy Black. He’s Rush Limbaugh’s attorney. He’s also an NBC analyst. Roy, you know, not only have I been a politician in Congress, so I understand the politics of the state attorney’s office and the state of Florida. I’ve also been a lawyer in the state of Florida. But it is beyond me, it is beyond me, how a state attorney in the state of Florida or any state could allow a judge — who’s addicted to the same prescription drug medication that Rush Limbaugh, has been addicted to could be on it for eight years, not even be investigated, and have beautiful stories written about him in the local papers about having the courage to face his addiction, while Rush Limbaugh… Let’s face it, I mean this guy has been drug through the mud for the past six months.
BLACK: Yeah, there’s no question about that, Joe. You know, I watched your excellent show last night, and both Judge Schwartz’s case was talked about and Mandy Dawson, and I think there are things we need to point out about this. With Judge Schwartz, what happened with him, his doctor was under a criminal investigation. He decided to go into rehabilitation, which he did for a period of time, then came back, and there was no investigation at all, but for the next six months he was unable to sit as a judge because of severe depression and mental problems. So the chief judge of the county wrote a letter to the Florida Supreme Court, and the Judicial Qualifications Commission looked into the matter, not regarding his drug use, but whether he was still competent to sit as a judge. And when they talked about the medical records that were looked at regarding Judge Schwartz, the Florida Supreme Court appointed a psychiatrist and a psychologist who reported to the court, and those are the records they were talking about. So Judge Schwartz was never criminally investigated. I’m not saying he should have been, but he was only investigated based on his competency to remain as a judge. And there’s no question there is a double standard in Palm Beach when it comes to Rush Limbaugh.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I found that very interesting, that actually the Palm Beach Post Reporter kept talking about this investigation that took place, but it was a judicial investigation, it was not an investigation from the prosecutor’s office. Have you talked to the prosecutor’s office? Have you discussed this with the prosecutor’s office, say, ?Help us understand. You don’t go after judges. You give state senators slaps on the wrist, and yet here you have a private citizen named Rush Limbaugh who’s being held to a higher standard??
BLACK: Well, Joe, unfortunately, our method of communication with the state attorney’s office has broken down since December and — because of all the leaks they were perpetrating — and now that we’ve gone public to complain about it, I’m afraid we’re not really having any communication. So we don’t know why this is. Now, I’m not suggesting the judge should be criminally investigated. What I’m suggesting is, ?Why isn’t Rush treated the same as the judge??


SCARBOROUGH: Roy, hold on a second. That is a good point here. I almost even hate to bring up this judge’s name because I think we all have friends that have had prescription drug problems or have had depression. This is no indictment on this judge who faced up to his problems, and I think he should be commended for it. This is an indictment on the system in Palm Beach County, isn’t it?
BLACK: Absolutely. And if you watched Deborah Norville’s show right before us here that talked about Jerry Lewis being addicted to pain medication for many years because of a spinal problem, this is not anything new. A lot of people fall into this because they suffer from intractable and chronic pain, and the only way they get relief is through these types of medications, and it’s very easy to become dependent on them.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. I tell you what, it is. As somebody that’s had back surgery before, it is. Unfortunately for me I got addicted to food instead. I want to read you what the state attorney’s office said. Back in December, state attorney James Martz said in a letter to you, quote, “A review of the records indicate evidence that would support in excess of ten felony counts.” But then in a brief filed this week, he said this: “The state will not be in a position to know what it can charge, if anything, until these records can be reviewed.” Ten felony counts? This guy hasn’t brought a charge! They’ve been leaking all this information. Ten felony counts? That could put your client in jail for the rest of his life.
BLACK: Yeah, but as they admit, they actually had no evidence of this. What they are trying to do is to get his medical records hoping they will find something in his medical records that will allow them to bring a case against him.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, again, they did not — help me out here — they did not go after the judge’s medical records?
BLACK: No.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Roy, you go before judges, you understand how the judicial system works. Don’t you think getting information about a judge’s prescription drug problem may be a tad more important than getting that information from a radio talk show host?
BLACK: Well, last night, Joe, you talked about two public officials, and you would think that public officials are held to a higher standard than a private citizen, even a private citizen who has his own radio show. And certainly while Rush’s radio show is extremely popular, nevertheless you remember we’re dealing with a judge who rules on people’s lives — their money, their children, their homes, in fact their freedoms. So you would think there would be a little bit higher standard there.
SCARBOROUGH: And let’s talk about the state senator in Florida, again, charged with a felony for forging a prescription, and of course that was later dropped. She believes that Rush Limbaugh may be getting off easy. I want you to respond to this quote she made.
MANDY DAWSON SOUND BITE: 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 so I mean if there’s a double standard, he’s probably gotten away with a lot more than I certainly was able to get away with.
SCARBOROUGH: Roy, we got 15 seconds. Respond to that.
BLACK: I have to tell you, Joe, I almost fell off my chair last night listening to her. She said there were two differences. One, she had a ?valid prescription.? Well, sure. What she did is she took an old prescription, she changed the date, multiplied the number of pills, and then passed it off at a pharmacy, and they caught her red-handed passing a forged prescription. The police came, and she told them she was a state senator and she was too important to be arrested and she would get them all fired if they dared arrest her, so of course they arrested her. That’s why she was arrested. And then she said, well, I had a valid prescription. Well, it was a forged prescription. The only person who had a valid prescription between the two of them was Rush Limbaugh, and the only person who’s never been arrested or seized by the police committing any crime is Rush. So if there’s a double standard here, it certainly is working against Rush, not against this state senator.
SCARBOROUGH: I tell you what, Roy Black, this is a remarkable case. It seems almost unprecedented on a national level. We’re going to stay on it. We appreciate you coming on the show talking about it. Anything else comes up, please return to Scarborough Country.
BLACK: Well, Joe, thank you so much for giving us airtime to put our point of view out there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. I tell you what, it’s the fair thing to do, and we’d do it for anybody that was facing this type of prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a witch-hunt down in Palm Beach County, and it ain’t pretty.

END TRANSCRIPT


SCARBOROUGH: Rush Limbaugh’s battle with Palm Beach prosecutors. It’s heating up. But it’s proof that politics makes strange bedfellows. First, the ACLU lends its hand by filing a brief with the court. And now, former Clinton insider and current governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, is on board, saying in a letter to Rush Limbaugh that the seizing of his medical records is, quote, “a massive intrusion into yours and every citizen’s privacy. Hopefully, you will be able to fend off these attacks.” With me now to talk about the latest developments in the Rush Limbaugh case is Mr. Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, who is also an NBC analyst. Hey, thanks so much for being with us tonight, Roy.
BLACK: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Please, help me understand; this strange bedfellows thing is getting a bit more bizarre by the moment. You know, people are talking about Bill Richardson as possibly being John Kerry’s vice presidential candidate, and yet he’s supporting Rush Limbaugh.
BLACK: Well, Joe, these are not really strange bedfellows, because this is not a political issue. This is a human rights issue, a privacy issue. There are people all across the political spectrum that are worried about their privacy rights. In fact, I’ve gotten many letters and e-mails from prosecutors, police officers, agents, all outraged at this abuse of power in Palm Beach County. So this is not really a political issue, and that’s why you have many people like Governor Richardson joining us, and let me just say one other thing. The reason that that has come out is because Governor Richardson agreed to the release of his letter. Many other people who have supported us did not want to get involved publicly in this.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, how did it come about? Did Rush call the governor asking to write the letter? Had they known each other? Did they talk before about it?
BLACK: No. What happened, the governor just on his own sent the letter to Rush, who passed it on to me, and we asked whether or not the matter could be released publicly, because we certainly like to show that this is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, this is a human rights and privacy issue, as I said, and everybody should be concerned about it. And Governor Richardson I think summed it up very well in his letter.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot of people are noticing that Rush has actually been fighting two battles down in Palm Beach. One’s with the prosecutor’s office, and the other is with the local newspaper. This is what Rush told his listeners about the Palm Beach Post.
RUSH AUDIO: ?If you talk to people in the press, they will tell you that their purpose is to protect the powerless from the powerful. But down here, the Palm Beach Post sides with the government and pursues citizens in good standing, assumes that citizens in good standing are the enemy and protects the government down here.?
SCARBOROUGH: Is that sour grapes, or is that a fair charge against the Palm Beach Post?
BLACK: Well, the Palm Beach Post editorials have certainly been very harsh against both Rush and me personally. On the news side of the Palm Beach Post I think that they have reported things fairly neutrally, and in fact in our recent filings in court, they wrote some I think very perceptive articles. However, the editorial position of the paper certainly, and on the opinion pages, have been very harsh of us and very supportive of what the state attorney is doing.
SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, Palm Beach Post poll actually asked people in Palm Beach whether or not the state attorney should be able to use Rush’s medical records, and their online poll said this: 93% of the respondents said “no,” with only 7% saying “yes.” With so many people in Palm Beach County and surrounding counties supporting Rush Limbaugh on this issue, why is any politician taking this matter on when he’s obviously stepping over the line when it comes to privacy?
BLACK: That’s a very good point. I mean this is, as I said, it’s not really a political issue. I think today people are worried about government being able to get into their private affairs, and what could be more private than your medical records? I think there’s a lot of people concerned about allowing the police and prosecutors, at their whim, to be able to seize your records. And, of course, that’s why the ACLU, Governor Richardson, and many people in this country are behind us, because they want to see a stop to this.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Roy, one final question. Your defense team has found what some are calling a “gotcha” piece against the prosecution. In your brief of the Fourth Circuit, this is what you wrote: “Only two years ago this very court suppressed evidence in a case on Mr. Krishner’s own office because of the state’s failure to follow the procedures required by another state law.” Do you think this is going to be binding and, in the end, going to crush the prosecution’s case against Rush Limbaugh?
BLACK: Oh, I certainly think so, and I would direct your viewers to our website, RoyBlack.com, in which they can look at the papers themselves; they don’t have to rely upon our interpretation. But the same prosecutor’s office used the same arguments two years ago in order to do something, and the court said you simply cannot do it. They flatly said it is wrong. Yet they went ahead and did it again in Rush’s case. I think it’s an abuse of power, and I can’t wait to get before the court to argue this matter.
SCARBOROUGH: Roy, any final thoughts?
BLACK: As I said, Joe, I think the final thought here on the basis of this program today is to show how many people are supportive of us. I mean the government here, the local prosecutor has just gone too far. You have to protect people’s privacy. That’s an important matter today in the 21st century.
SCARBOROUGH: It certainly is, and it’s a matter that I think, and I know you believe, like me, that it crosses party lines; it doesn’t matter whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, with Internet, with all of these privacy issues, not just medical records, but financial records, employment records, I mean this wall is being torn down, and by, you know, businesses, that’s one thing, but when state governments, when prosecutors do it, gets kind of frightening, doesn’t it?
BLACK: Well, you know, it gives us these images we always had of fascist governments being able to get our records. You know, like right out of the book “1984” where you have no privacy at all, you’re worried about being watched and surveilled 24 hours a day, and you really have no private life. I mean it’s important for us to be able to have a private life in our homes and to be able to keep a zone of privacy in which nobody from the government can pierce.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Roy, I knew if I kept you on long enough, I’d get the money quote. I got fascist government; that’s money enough for tonight, buddy. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it.
BLACK: Thank you, Joe.
END TRANSCRIPT

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