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Taking on Rush

Sunday, February 15, 2004


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

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Read Frank Cerabino's column

Rush Limbaugh Rush Limbaugh
Read the latest news from The Palm Beach Post on the part-time Palm Beach County resident:

Recent headlines
Limbaugh says Miami ruling boosts his case 
Limbaugh, third wife parting after 10 years 
State may bolster Limbaugh team 
Limbaugh attacks Krischer in ads 
Limbaugh attorneys unearth precedent 


Audio: Limbaugh reads statement
Arbitrating justice for the high and mighty is a recurring challenge for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, which has a history of losing its footing when prosecution and politics collide. Twenty years ago, the drug overdose of David Kennedy, nephew of an American president and son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, set off a criminal investigation that was long on controversy and short on results.

Seven years later, another Kennedy family drama found a home in Palm Beach - this time a claim of rape at the family's oceanfront estate. The vigorous, and ultimately unsuccessful, prosecution of William Kennedy Smith ended with the state attorney's office coming up short again.

And now a new opportunity. A new set of players and circumstances.

Will it be the same old story?

The new challenge from Palm Beach is resident Rush Limbaugh, the nation's foremost political radio talk-show host, a mouthpiece with nearly 600 stations and 20 million listeners tuned to his voice.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer has made Limbaugh the subject of a criminal investigation that, if prosecuted, could turn the commentator's admitted drug addiction into a felony charge.

Once again, criminal justice and national politics have clashed in this wayward playland, and once again the local prosecutor's office is faced with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't decision.

No charges have been filed against Limbaugh. But the long-simmering investigation has turned into quite a saga, and the pressures on Krischer to do something - or nothing - continue to mount.

Are we seeing the prologue to Palm Beach's next big courtroom extravaganza?

Rush Limbaugh admitted his addiction to prescription painkillers during a tumultuous week last fall, a week when he both lost his side job as a football commentator and learned that the revelations of his former $370-a-week maid had made him front-page tabloid news:

"Rush Limbaugh Caught in Drug Ring" screamed the headline of The National Enquirer on Oct. 2.

Outcry over remarks fuels ESPN resignation

That day, Limbaugh had a substitute host for his noon-to-3 p.m. syndicated radio show (heard locally on WJNO-AM 1290), while he spent the day in Philadelphia, addressing the National Association of Broadcasters convention.

The previous evening, Limbaugh had resigned as an ESPN sports analyst, following mounting criticism over his comments on the network's Sunday NFL Countdown show. Limbaugh had said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted a black quarterback to succeed.

"There's a little hope invested in McNabb," Limbaugh said on the show. "And he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he didn't deserve."

Limbaugh's remarks weren't challenged on the spot, but a clamorous chorus of athletes, political figures and sports commentators started weighing in that Limbaugh's analysis was both inaccurate and the kind of race-baiting remark that might be red meat to some among his radio audience but out of bounds on a national sports show.

(McNabb went on to lead the Eagles to a big season, as the previously winless team went 12-2 after Limbaugh's remarks and advanced to the playoffs, winning the opening round with McNabb netting 355 of the team's 381 yards of offense.)

The uproar over Limbaugh's TV comments on the night of Sept. 28 led to his resignation three nights later, which he explained as his way of sparing his ESPN colleagues from being the target of misguided hysteria.

His resignation, tendered hours before The National Enquirer story hit newsstands, also gave him and his radio acolytes a comfortable rallying point at a time when the drug-abuse story and its uncomfortable details were clearly something he didn't care to discuss with gusto.

At the broadcaster convention, Limbaugh made no mention of the drug story but went on at length about his demise as a TV sports analyst, characterizing himself as a victim of political correctness run amok, a favorite subject of his.

"We want controversy," he told the broadcasters. "Nobody tells me what I can and can't say."

His only public remarks that day about the drug story came in a note posted on his radio show's Web site:

"I am unaware of any investigation by any authorities involving me," it read. "No governmental representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required in the future, I will, of course, cooperate fully."

And when Limbaugh returned to the airwaves the following day, he got right into a defense of his racially provocative remarks with callers who agreed with him and found with it a new reason to consider him their hero.

"It's amazing that this is a controversy at all," he told his audience.

As for the story about his abuse of prescription drugs, it was a non-subject.

The usually blunt Limbaugh spoke only in the most cryptic terms - not even using the word "drugs" and referring to it only as "the story in Florida." He sounded befuddled, something not usually in his palette of expression.

"It really is an emerging situation," he told his listeners. "I really don't know the full scope of what I am dealing with. And when I get all the facts, when I get all the details of this, rest assured that I will discuss this with you and tell you how it is, tell you everything there is, maybe more than you want to know about this."

Instead of details, he praised his audience for standing beside him.

"We are like a giant family," he told them. "Over the 15 years of this program, that's what we have become."

Former maid's claim becomes tabloid fodder

The tabloid story was based on his former maid Wilma Cline's claim of how she and her husband, David, had supplied the talk-show host with illegally obtained prescription drugs from 1998 to 2002. The couple claimed they gave Limbaugh tens of thousands of painkiller tablets over the years, including 11,900 tablets during one six-month period.

Limbaugh, the story said, would sometimes meet them at the Denny's parking lot on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach to swap OxyContin and other prescription medications for cash, and that Limbaugh grew paranoid, one time frisking the maid to make sure she wasn't wearing a listening device.

The maid, according to the story, grew fearful of her involvement in supplying the wealthy Palm Beacher with drugs when an unidentified lawyer gave her $100,000, told her not to give Limbaugh any more pills and asked her to destroy the hard drive on her computer, which allegedly contained e-mails from Limbaugh.

The Clines kept the potentially incriminating hard drive, then sought legal help from a criminal defense attorney, Ed Shohat in Miami.

Shohat is a seasoned hand in drug investigations. He was the lawyer for Carlos Lehder Rivas, once the kingpin of a Colombian drug cartel. And Shohat was the lawyer who sparred with F. Lee Bailey - eventually ending in Bailey's Florida disbarment - over the details of the cooperation agreement worked out for Claude Duboc, a hashish and marijuana importer who made more than $100 million as a smuggler.

Shohat engineered a cooperation agreement for the Clines, arranging for a Dec. 14, 2002, meeting with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.

When the lawyer and the Clines walked in, they had an attentive audience that included the office's anti-money laundering task force as well as representatives of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

Money laundering?

Limbaugh's name already had popped up to authorities in a completely different context. In 2001, federal bank regulators levied a huge fine against the banking subsidiary of discount brokerage company Charles Schwab, finding that the subsidiary, U.S. Trust, had failed on numerous occasions to report "structured" withdrawals from some of its wealthy clients.

In an effort to track money laundering, the federal government requires banks to file reports on withdrawals of $10,000 or more. "Structuring" is the illegal practice of routinely drawing just under the reporting limit for the purpose of evading the filing requirement.

The investigation of U.S. Trust led to a $10 million civil penalty and, according to reports, flagged Limbaugh as one of the clients receiving multiple cash withdrawals just under the filing amount.

But no action was ever taken against Limbaugh, who later denied any wrongdoing, telling his listeners, "I was not laundering money. I was withdrawing money, for crying out loud."

Prosecutors didn't know pair would sell story

The Clines, in their December 2002 meeting, told prosecutors essentially the same story they would later sell to The National Enquirer: that for years they had been supplying Rush Limbaugh with large quantities of hydrocodone, OxyContin and other pharmaceuticals, all without prescription. To back their claim, the Clines brought along their answering machine tape recordings from Limbaugh and the e-mails they had saved.

The prosecutors had no idea that after getting immunity the couple would sell their story to a tabloid.

"They were blindsided by it," criminal defense lawyer Roy Black said. "If it hadn't hit the Enquirer, I don't think (the state attorney's office) would have done anything about it. But when the story hit the Enquirer, they were stuck with it and felt that they had to do something."

Limbaugh hired Black, who phoned the prosecutor's office on the day the tabloid story appeared.

Black spoke with Assistant State Attorney James Martz to get a feel for what the prosecutor's office intended to do. The following day, Martz sent Black a letter.

"We accept your client's offer to discuss the Wilma and David Cline investigation," Martz wrote. "Please call at your earliest convenience to set a time that is mutually acceptable."

Black had characterized the wealthy talk-show host as a victim of extortion from his maid and her husband, a felon. David Cline had been a fugitive, skipping bond on a 1982 cocaine trafficking charge, before surrendering seven years later and getting sent to prison. Four years ago, he was arrested again, this time for identity theft and marijuana possession.

As prosecution witnesses, the Clines would be less than ideal.

A few days after the letter from Martz, Black met with Krischer to see whether there was a quick way to get the talk-show host out of the prosecution's cross hairs.

Legal pundits already were opining that Krischer would not pursue Limbaugh. Putting the witnesses aside, it would be, after all, a drug case without the seizure of any drugs, what lawyers call a dry conspiracy.

Michael Salnick, who was Krischer's law partner when Krischer was a criminal defense lawyer, said he didn't think Limbaugh had much to worry about.

"I think it's legal suicide to go after a guy like Limbaugh with evidence this flimsy," Salnick said.

State attorney's office caught in middle

And besides, there's a history here.

When it comes to politically charged prosecutions, the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has been bruised and battered by previous outcomes.

Twenty years ago, it was David Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, who was found dead of an overdose in a room at the Brazilian Court hotel in Palm Beach. The death of the 28-year-old member of America's most storied political family put then-State Attorney David Bludworth in a tough spot.

An autopsy found that the young Kennedy, who had a history of drug abuse, died from an overdose of three drugs - Demerol, Mellaril and cocaine.

Bludworth, a Republican, focused his prosecution on two bellhops, David Dorr and Peter Marchant, who supplied Kennedy with the cocaine he requested days before his death. Bludworth's decision to prosecute suppliers in an accidental overdose death got him lambasted as a lackey of the powerful family.

"People say, 'Why are you putting so much effort into this case? The guy wanted to take the drugs,' " Bludworth recounted the following year. "On the other hand, people would say, 'Why aren't you doing more on this? This needs to be aired, but it's not being aired because this man is a Kennedy.' "

One of the witnesses was Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy. Bludworth flew to Washington to interview her and then kept her statement secret for months, leading to speculation that her testimony was explosive (it wasn't) and claims that Bludworth was more interested in protecting the family than anything else.

At one point even the trial judge, John Born, remarked to the prosecutor, "It sounds like you're governed by what the Kennedys want you to do."

The prosecution of the bellhops dragged on for more than a year, fizzling in plea deals that resulted in $200 fines, probation and convictions that eventually were removed from the record.

Bludworth's refusal to provide public records of the investigation ended in his office paying four media organizations $48,097 in legal fees.

Two Kennedy cases within seven years

Seven years after the David Kennedy case, a new Kennedy family drama created another politically charged case for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.

Bludworth, who had endured widespread criticism for being too soft on the Kennedys in the earlier case, vigorously pursued the allegations of a Jupiter woman who said that William Kennedy Smith raped her on the back lawn of the Kennedys' Palm Beach estate after meeting her at a local nightspot.

The office sidestepped the grand jury process to charge Smith and pursued an obstruction-of-justice investigation against a Kennedy family aide, compelling Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was at the estate on the weekend in question, to appear as a witness before a local grand jury. The office also filed charges against the supermarket tabloid Globe for disclosing the identity of the woman.

The office clearly was playing hardball with the Kennedys this time, even going as far as trying to introduce into evidence a book about Chappaquiddick that highlighted the actions of Sen. Kennedy after a 1969 incident in which his car went off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard and his passenger drowned.

And once again, the prosecutor's office would take a beating.

The obstruction-of-justice investigation ended with a grand jury finding of insufficient evidence. The case against the tabloid was thrown out of court, prompting then-Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth to refuse to aid Bludworth in an appeal:

"It is plain that the facts of this case did not support a prosecution," Butterworth wrote. "This office will not be party to squandering even more taxpayer dollars on a fruitless undertaking."

As for the main event, the nationally televised trial of William Kennedy Smith, he was acquitted. It took the jury only 77 minutes.

The defense attorney in that case was Roy Black, who gained both a national reputation and a wife - he married Juror No. 1.

A year after the case, Bludworth retired from his 20-year tenure as the Palm Beach County state attorney and later ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Florida Senate and against Butterworth for attorney general.

The national spectacle of a Limbaugh trial would dwarf both the David Kennedy and William Kennedy Smith cases.

"The national attention during the David Kennedy case was nothing like it is today," said Salnick, who represented one of the bellhops in the 1984 case. "There weren't 40 cameras waiting for you outside the courthouse back then, and there weren't 500 defense lawyers working as correspondents to comment on cases that aren't theirs."

And the William Kennedy Smith case, which essentially launched Court TV, predated the proliferation of political talk radio shows, cable news outlets and the Internet as a public forum and opinion shaper.

'I am addicted,' Limbaugh admits on show

When Black met with Krischer during the first week in October last year, he said, Krischer assured him that Limbaugh was not a target.

"Barry told me directly that they're not in the business of prosecuting people who are addicts," Black said.

After that meeting, Black began laying the groundwork for getting Limbaugh into a pretrial intervention program.

Pretrial intervention is a provision in Florida law that allows some people with clean criminal records to avoid being charged with certain crimes, up to a third-degree felony, if they seek "appropriate counseling, education, supervision and medical and psychological treatment" for their underlying problem.

A few days after Black met Krischer, Limbaugh suddenly became less vague and befuddled over the tabloid story, making a surprising announcement at the end of his Oct. 10 radio show.

"You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life," he told his listeners. "So I need to tell you that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication."

He told listeners that he began taking prescription painkillers five or six years before, after undergoing spinal surgery, and that he had been through two drug treatment programs. He said he would need to enroll in another monthlong program to "once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me."

Limbaugh stopped short of addressing the potential criminal aspects of his former maid's allegations, which were amplified by a second National Enquirer story that appeared on this day.

"At the present time the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them."

Limbaugh left for Arizona, silent for a month.

But his public admission had gotten everyone else talking. And once again the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office found itself facing a political powder keg.

Letters and e-mails poured in. Most of them urged Krischer to be tough with the talk-show host.

"I believe that counseling and rehabilitation is a better way to 'fight the drug war' in America. But Rush has belched out his hateful 'lock 'em up for life' poison for years and now it's his turn to pay!" wrote Alan Middleton of Tampa.

Limbaugh's pre-addiction-admission pronouncements about drugs were making the rounds, one in particular from his radio show on Oct. 5, 1995:

"Drug use destroys societies," Limbaugh said. "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

Limbaugh went on to say that the problem isn't that there's a disproportionate number of black people behind bars for drug offenses but that "too many whites are getting away with drug use.

"The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."

Some people cited Limbaugh's own words as a reason for Krischer to prosecute him.

Andy Johnson, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, wrote Krischer: "You must prosecute Rush. Or, if not, then you must lead the way to release the thousands of Florida inmates who have not done anything nearly so serious as Rush is alleged to have done."

Only about 20 percent of the letters Krischer received during those first few weeks supported Limbaugh.

"Do you normally provide protection to the dealer then prosecute the end user? All I can think of is that you have a political axe to grind or are looking for publicity," wrote Dave Johnson of Arizona. "I hope this is not true because if it is, your office is going to look very silly and petty."

Black believes that the cries for Limbaugh's scalp changed Krischer's mind.

"I don't think they ever had any intention of going after Limbaugh, but the public pressure made him do it," Black said.

If Black thought Limbaugh's public admission of drug abuse and his voluntary enrollment in a treatment program would keep Krischer's office from further pursuing his client, he was mistaken.

It seemed to have the opposite effect. While Limbaugh went off for treatment, Krischer's investigators began showing up at Palm Beach pharmacies near Limbaugh's home, looking for prescription records and laying the groundwork for a "doctor shopping" case against the talk-show host - a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

County GOP chief: 'Krischer's unbeatable'

An uncomplicated reading of the situation would have it that Krischer, a Democrat up for election this year, would find it politically appealing to prosecute Limbaugh in a county where Al Gore beat George W. Bush by a 9-5 margin in the last presidential election.

But Krischer's reelection is a near certainty. He is running unopposed, and the only person cited as a potential challenger, Doug Duncan, contributed through his law firm to Krischer's reelection campaign.

Sid Dinerstein, the county's GOP chairman, said Krischer has nothing to gain politically by going after Limbaugh.

"Krischer's unbeatable," Dinerstein said. "Republicans consider him reasonable. He's tough on the death penalty, and in a Democratic county he's as good as we can expect. I've had people tell me they want to run against Krischer, and I say, 'Save your money.' "

Krischer is a bit of a free agent, politically. He surprised his own party four years ago by openly endorsing Bob Neumann, the incumbent Republican running for sheriff.

On the other hand, going after Limbaugh would not be a politically risky thing for Krischer to do. Krischer's assistant, Mike Edmondson, is active in county Democratic politics, a frequent visitor to local clubs, where Rush is a four-letter word.

"Barry has to be a person who is representing Palm Beach County," said Murray Kalish, a fixture in the influential South County Democratic Club. "He's not representing the people in Oklahoma, South Carolina and the sticks, he's responding to what the people of Palm Beach County say needs to be done.

"Me and the people in the club would be very upset at him if he didn't get involved," Kalish continued. "We don't want to see Limbaugh get away with something if he's doing something illegal."

It could be that Florida's Republican leadership has been responsible for laying the groundwork for a Limbaugh prosecution.

The abuse of prescription painkillers has emerged as a growing problem worthy of legislative action.

In 2001, there was a 200 percent statewide increase in deaths linked to hydrocodone and to oxycodone, the active ingredient in the painkiller OxyContin. Prescribed for pain management, the medication routinely was being abused by addicts who discovered that chewing or grinding up the tablets would negate the pill's time-release coating, bringing on a euphoria that is said to be more intense than heroin.

Palm Beach County led the state in OxyContin overdoses, and Krischer became one of the first prosecutors in the nation to charge a doctor with murder for prescribing the powerful narcotic painkiller to a patient who died.

Cocaine was still the drug associated with more overdose deaths in Florida, but OxyContin had replaced heroin in the second spot.

The state negotiated a deal with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, to provide up to $2 million for a yet-to-be-implemented statewide prescription databank to stop addicts from getting multiple prescriptions. And the drug manufacturer chose Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast as one of four national sites to conduct ad campaigns designed to steer teens away from getting high on OxyContin.

The pervasiveness of prescription drug abuse was dramatized by Gov. Jeb Bush's own daughter, Noelle, 26, who began her very public 18-month odyssey through drug court in January 2002, when she was arrested in the wee hours of the morning at a Tallahassee Walgreens drive-through trying to buy Xanax with a bogus prescription.

The Republican-led state House and Senate pounced on the growing problem by introducing new laws that punished both overprescribing doctors and the abusers who typically would seek multiple prescriptions to feed their addiction.

The doctor-shopping investigation against Limbaugh is possible because the newly minted felony is part of the legislature's initiatives to make stronger criminal penalties for prescription drug abuse.

On Nov. 17, Limbaugh returned to the airwaves, raving about his drug treatment, saying he was "reborn" but certainly not transformed into "a linguini-spined liberal."

Within 10 minutes, he was back to business, lambasting Ted Kennedy.

'The next thing is going to be jaywalking'

A week later, defense attorney Black got the first inkling that Krischer's office had not backed off Limbaugh. Investigators now had obtained search warrants from a judge to get Limbaugh's medical records from four area doctors. The search warrants claimed that "Mr. Limbaugh alternated physicians to obtain overlapping prescriptions" and confirmed that Krischer's office was pursuing a doctor-shopping charge.

Black quickly sought to keep these medical records under seal and tried to formalize a plea deal to bring the investigation of Limbaugh to a halt.

"Because he has admitted he was an addict and sought extensive help for it, I believe the just resolution of this matter would be a referral to a pretrial diversion program which would require him to continue his addiction treatment," Black wrote Krischer. "Mr. Limbaugh would continue to receive treatment for his addiction and be monitored by a professional in this field. I believe this proposal would be in keeping with the public's interest. The public is better served by treating addicts as patients rather than criminals."

Four days later, Black got an answer. Not the one he was looking for.

Martz, the assistant state attorney, began by saying pretrial intervention would not be appropriate because the doctor-shopping investigation had already produced "evidence that would support in excess of 10 felony counts."

The prosecutor offered a much tougher deal. Limbaugh would have to plead guilty to a felony, then be placed on three years probation, subjected to random drug testing, continuing treatment and community service to "raise public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug addiction."

Black called the counteroffer "ludicrous."

"There was an avalanche of letters and e-mails from people in Palm Beach County who don't like Rush Limbaugh, saying he ought to be prosecuted," Black told CNN's Wolf Blitzer this month. "They've gone through drug trafficking, money laundering, doctor shopping. The next thing is going to be jaywalking with intent, probably somewhere in Palm Beach."

Lately, Black and Limbaugh have managed to seem more like prosecutors themselves, as the daily trickle of procedural moves has turned into hard-fought battles at every turn.

The result is that Krischer's office has come under criticism from all sides. The American Civil Liberties Union, a group that Limbaugh has ridiculed in the past, came to his defense over the privacy issue regarding his medical records. Also, in an echo of the Bludworth-Butterworth acrimony during the William Kennedy Smith case, Krischer's office has gotten into a snit with the office of Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, a Republican.

'Little people' going to prison for fewer drugs

Is history about to repeat itself? Will the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office charge Rush Limbaugh or walk away from what would be a controversial, difficult and minutely dissected prosecution?

"If Rush gets a break, Krischer's going to hear from the local defense bar," said Gregg Lerman, a West Palm Beach defense lawyer who has known Krischer for almost 20 years.

Lerman, like many of the other defense lawyers in the county, has clients who face felony charges for illegal possession of prescription drugs.

"It happens all the time," said Marc Shiner, a criminal defense lawyer who spent 12 years as a prosecutor in the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office. "From Krischer's perspective, I can't see how he turns his eyes from it."

Lerman points to one of his cases. He represents James Ratliff, 46, of Elkhorn City, Ky. Last May, Ratliff was visiting relatives in Jupiter. During a traffic stop for an equipment problem on his car, a police officer asked for permission to search the car and discovered that Ratliff had a bottle of pills.

Ratliff didn't have a prescription for the 160 OxyContin tablets in his car. He was arrested and booked on a drug-trafficking charge.

The weight of the 160 OxyContin pills Ratliff had in his car totaled 42.7 grams - putting him in the category of a drug-trafficking offense with a 25-year minimum mandatory prison term.

Lerman has been working on a plea deal for his client, who has no criminal history and has legitimate prescriptions for OxyContin and five other medications in Kentucky to treat a host of medical problems.

"He didn't have a prescription for the OxyContin he had in Florida," Lerman said. "But he wasn't selling it. It was for his own use."

Krischer's office rejected pretrial intervention for Ratliff and so far only offered a deal that includes some time behind bars, Lerman said.

"They're not willing to give him probation," Lerman said.

Which brings Lerman to muse about Limbaugh and the maid's allegation that she provided the talk-show host with 11,900 OxyContin tablets - an amount that makes Ratliff's bottle of 160 pills seem minuscule.

If Limbaugh gets off easy, there will be a lot of James Ratliffs getting in line.

"I don't think Krischer would want to prosecute Limbaugh, but little people are going to prison for having next to nothing," said Jim Eisenberg, a criminal defense lawyer who is representing a suburban Lake Worth pharmacist charged with illegal sales of prescription drugs.

It's not politics, Eisenberg said, but the hard, business-as-usual reality of today's drug laws that may ultimately be pushing Krischer more than anything else.

"Everybody else who has a little cocaine rock is getting prosecuted," Eisenberg said, "and then Limbaugh comes along.

"And nothing?"

frank_cerabino@pbpost.com


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