Responding to news reports on his April 28 arrest on drug fraud charges, Rush Limbaugh declared that the case is "over" and that he has "won." In fact, as Limbaugh himself noted, he must comply with the agreement filed by the Palm Beach County state attorney's office that requires random drug tests for a period of 18 months before the charge of fraudulently concealing information to obtain prescription drugs is dismissed.
During the May 1 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh responded to media reports about his April 28 arrest on drug fraud charges by declaring that the case is "over" and that he has "won." While Limbaugh touted the deal he struck with the Palm Beach County state attorney's office as a victory, a spokesman for the state attorney characterized the agreement, which, as Limbaugh noted, requires him to undergo random drug tests, as "standard for someone who is dealing with their addiction," according to an April 29 Associated Press story. Limbaugh is subject to random drug tests for a period of 18 months before the charge of fraudulently concealing information to obtain prescription drugs is dismissed; and the state attorney can revoke the agreement and seek prosecution at any time if Limbaugh violates the terms. Limbaugh is also prohibited from owning a gun as part of the deal.
Limbaugh also took issue with media outlets such as the AP reporting on April 28 that he had been arrested, complaining that the term "conjures up cops peeling up, with sirens and gumball machines going nuts, knocking on the door and knocking it down and coming in with leg irons and shackles and handcuffs and dragging the perp suspect out to the paddy wagon, and on to the jail." A spokesman for the Palm Beach County sheriff's office told CNN that Limbaugh was indeed under arrest during the time of his booking.
From the May 1 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: All right, the first thing I want to start out with is on Friday afternoon, late, sometime between 6 and 6:30, headlines began to scream across American television networks that I had been arrested on drug fraud charges. And we didn't know where this had come from, I had just returned from a jail where I -- I voluntarily processed -- went in and booked because we had reached a settlement in this case -- it's now over -- with the state attorney's office -- one little charge of doctor shopping -- I plead not guilty. It's called pre-trial diversion or intervention. It's an agreement that, after 18 months of model citizen -- citizen behavior, the charge is dropped, never prosecuted -- the case is over.
The operative words are "not guilty." Now, I don't know where this arrested business come from because it's a semantic thing, but the word "arrested" conjures up cops peeling up, with sirens and gumball machines going nuts, knocking on the door and knocking it down and coming in with leg irons and shackles and handcuffs and dragging the perp suspect out to the paddy wagon, and on to the jail. And that's what a lot of people thought had happened. In addition to that, a lot of people assumed this was something new. This headline screaming across television -- "Rush Limbaugh Arrested: Drug Fraud Probe" -- and -- and not realizing it was just a continuation of this ordeal that's been going on since November of 2003 -- that's two years and seven months.
So, we traced it. It was the AP that somehow got that headline, they said somebody at the sheriff's department was telling them that, and it may have been true. I mean the word "arrest" -- this case has never been about the law -- and the word "arrest" did conjure up what some people wanted it to conjure up. But the bottom line is this -- settled the case, went over at 4 o'clock on Friday after we did the leukemia cure-a-thon. I booked, voluntary, got a great looking mug shot, did the fingerprints on a machine, shook hands with a lot of people over there, they were very nice. Couple people came up and talked to me privately about a couple things. I was out of there in an hour -- came back here.
We were preparing our press release for this when this headline hit. So, we -- we got into -- start -- fast action, got our press release out, started getting on the phone with people to try to turn it around. We got a second wave of stories on the AP that said: "Limbaugh Surrenders in Drug Fraud Process." So, we got the word "arrest" out of there, but this was all because the media had hopes -- the whole -- a bunch of people in this country had hopes that this case would result in something other than how it has ended. And it's just -- 'cause their expectations were raised very high. There were all sorts of reports early on -- drug rings and money laundering and so forth -- and you had the typical panting with bated breath and high expectations out there, and of course the operative words here are "not guilty."
I plead not guilty to a single charge. It was a deal that we made with the state attorney's office. It's a good deal for us; it's a good deal for him. It ends this, and I've spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars on lawyers fighting this, all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court, talking about it on the radio program. This ending is the equivalent of going to court and beating it without another year, 18 months, and litigation and so forth. Now, the AP story out today, came out -- when was this posted? -- at 12:42 this afternoon -- headline: "Limbaugh Facing Drug Tests Under Deal."
And they also make a big deal about how I can't have a gun. Well, I don't have a gun. I've never owned a gun. I have no need for a gun where I live. We use money. Just -- just -- just kidding. But the -- no, no, I don't have a gun. I have no intention of buying a gun. I'm not against them as you know, but I mean, I -- yeah, the NRA gave me a gift rifle but it's not -- it doesn't function. And I've got it -- it's in a display case in New York.
But look, the bottom line here is that this agreement, the pre-trial or intervention agreement, which was filed today, which is the nuts and bolts of this, not what happened on Friday. The nuts and bolts of this is I did not admit guilt to anything. That's the story. I'm not surprised that that's not what media's picking up because that's not what they wanted to pick up. Newsweek, strangely enough, has the best story on this that there's been done by anybody ever in the mainstream media. It's linked on our website at rushlimbaugh.com.
So, they focused on random drug tests -- been doing that for two years and seven months. Random drug tests are part of ongoing recovery and treatment. I look forward to 'em. They're going to continue. I would have continued this whether it was required in this agreement or not. As far as the guns concerned -- listen to this. The state attorney -- what the -- did the spokesman -- they were alleging, you know, 2000 painkillers prescribed by four doctors and so forth. "The single charge" -- this is AP near the end of the story -- "the single charge only alleges that Limbaugh legally obtained about 40 pills, according to the state attorney spokesman. He wouldn't elaborate or explain why prosecutors scaled back the case."
If you're a lawyer, I don't want to say it, but if you're a lawyer, you'll understand why they scaled back the case. So, basically, here, two years and seven months, and the money, and so forth -- all that -- the time -- over 40 pills. Meanwhile, today, Stephen Baldwin, noted Hollywood actor, caught possessing cocaine, last April. They decided not to prosecute him. And that's -- that's generally what happens in all these cases but I wanted to straighten this out. There was no arrest. There was no new charge, no new case. Case closed. Story's over. I won. Operative words: "not guilty." Thanks to all of you for sticking by me and hanging in.