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Legally Speaking, Rush Won Big Time
May 1, 2006

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Despite the mainstream media's best efforts to portray the deal struck between Florida prosecutors and Rush Limbaugh in the most negative light, the fact is it was a huge victory for the mega talk-show host.

Back in 2003, a Ronnie Earle wannabe frittered away Florida taxpayers' dollars by engaging in a politically motivated investigation that involved alleged doctor shopping by Limbaugh.

The Left immediately began salivating over the prospect of convicting the conservative icon for a felony that carried with it a possible five-year prison sentence.

Unlike a plea bargain, in this legal arrangement Limbaugh did not have to alter the position he has consistently maintained: He did not have to admit to having committed a crime.

Typically, a plea bargain involves admitting to a lesser charge. But pursuant to this settlement, Limbaugh filed a not guilty plea with the court.

The plea affirms what Limbaugh has always said — that there was no doctor shopping. Limbaugh was required to pay a small fine. He had to participate in a theatrical walk-in booking. And, as a condition to the prosecutors dropping the case 18 months from now, he must continue with his treatment under the same physician that he has been seeing for the last two and a half years, something he planned on doing anyway.

Rush's attorney, Roy Black, did an exceptional job for his client by avoiding the risk of a trial.

When the dust settles, there will be no record of criminal prosecution, no guilty plea, no probation, no community service, no further obligation of any kind. This is an unqualified win for Limbaugh.

In order to allow the D.A. to save face, Rush agreed to allow himself to be booked. In addition, he posed for a Tom DeLay-style happy mug shot and was subsequently released, a small price to pay for the certainty and finality of the settlement.

It is not unusual for prosecutors to make a deal of this kind when the potential defendant is a first-time offender with no prior criminal record.

What is unusual is that it took so long.

After three grueling years, Rush can put the whole sorry saga behind him and turn his full attention toward doing what he does best.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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