October 03, 2003

Limbaugh Faces Drug Probe Amid Race Flap

Could it be possible that the Herculean task of
cleaning out the Aegean stables is underway?

Associated Press: Law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to The Associated Press that Limbaugh is being investigated by the Palm Beach County state attorney's office.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031002/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_mcnabb_limbaugh_30

Limbaugh Faces Drug Probe Amid Race Flap
Thu Oct 2, 7:32 PM ET

By JILL BARTON, Associated Press Writer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Rush Limbaugh refused to back
down Thursday from disparaging comments he made about
a black quarterback, as authorities confirmed he is
being investigated for illegally buying prescription
drugs.


The conservative commentator gave up his job as an
ESPN sports analyst late Wednesday, three days after
saying on the sports network's "Sunday NFL Countdown"
that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb
was overrated because the media wanted to see a black
quarterback succeed.


"I think what we've had here is a little social
concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous
that a black quarterback do well," Limbaugh said on
the show. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb,
and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this
team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this
team."


Law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of
anonymity confirmed to The Associated Press that
Limbaugh is being investigated by the Palm Beach
County state attorney's office.


The drug allegations were first reported by the
National Enquirer. CNN reported Thursday that sources
close to the investigation said Limbaugh had turned up
as a buyer of powerful painkillers but that he was not
the target of the investigation.


Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the
politically focused "Rush Limbaugh Show" to more than
650 markets, issued a statement from Limbaugh on
Thursday saying: "I am unaware of any investigation by
any authority involving me. No government
representative has contacted me directly or
indirectly. If my assistance is required, I will, of
course, cooperate fully."


Limbaugh announced his departure from ESPN late
Wednesday. He said Thursday that he was leaving so
network employees would be spared the uproar over his
comments.


"The great people at ESPN did not want to deal with
this kind of reaction," Limbaugh told the National
Association of Broadcasters at its convention in
Philadelphia. "The path of least resistance became for
me to resign."


George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports,
accepted Limbaugh's resignation, saying: "We believe
that he took the appropriate action to resolve this
matter expeditiously."


McNabb said he didn't mind criticism of his
performance but was upset that Limbaugh made his race
an issue. Democratic presidential candidates and the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People criticized Limbaugh's remark, and Eagles owner
Jeffrey Lurie on Thursday called Limbaugh's comments
"despicable."


Limbaugh has denied that his comments were racially
motivated. He said at the convention that he had
thought about the issue the night before making the
comments and wanted to write an essay on it.


"It's something I have believed for quite a while,"
Limbaugh said. "I don't mean it to hurt anybody. ...
It's just an opinion."


Limbaugh told the broadcasters that he was used to
scrutiny and expects to get attention, saying that to
draw in listeners, "we want controversy."


Limbaugh did not address the drug investigation
reports in his speech.


The Enquirer had interviewed Wilma Cline, who said she
became Limbaugh's drug connection after working as his
maid. She said Limbaugh had abused OxyContin and other
painkillers.


Ed Shohat, a Miami lawyer for Cline and her husband,
said Thursday, "The Clines stand by the story." Shohat
said neither he nor his clients would comment further.

National Enquirer Editor in Chief David Perel declined
to say whether the Clines were paid for their
interview, but said the tabloid does "pay for
interviews, photographs and exclusives as long as
they can be proven to be true." Referring to media
reports saying the Clines were paid six figures for
their story, Perel said, "People are just making
things up."

Limbaugh skipped his radio show Thursday to attend the
broadcasters convention. He was scheduled to be back
on the air Friday.

___

Associated Press Writer Jason Straziuso in
Philadelphia contributed to this report.

___

Posted by richard at October 3, 2003 01:50 PM