After his radio broadcast last Friday, Rush Limbaugh climbed into a black Cadillac Escalade with his attorney, Roy Black, and drove over to the Palm Beach County jail, reports Newsweek. There he surrendered to authorities on a charge that he had fraudulently obtained prescription drugs. He was fingerprinted and released an hour later on $3,000 bail. Although headlines said “Limbaugh Arrested,” in fact, his lawyer had worked out a deal that would cause the single charge to be dropped after 18 months as long as Limbaugh stayed out of trouble and continued to see a doctor who has helped him with an addiction to painkillers. It was a mild wrist slap for Limbaugh, an essentially happy ending to a long ordeal.
Newsweek tells the story: Limbaugh’s drug problems began after he made a medical choice to try to preserve his radio voice. Several years ago the radio host was suffering from spinal problems and was faced with a choice of surgery. The doctors wanted to go in through the back of his mouth, but Limbaugh was worried about his vocal cords. A different procedure was performed, and Limbaugh’s suffering did not go away. He began to take pain pills in ever-larger numbers. The defense won a key victory in December when a judge, basing his ruling on privacy, refused to let prosecutors take testimony from Limbaugh’s doctors about his medical treatment. Black was now in a position to negotiate a deal. He persuaded authorities to allow Limbaugh into diversion program commonly used for first-time drug offenders.