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Disclosure of Limbaugh plea talks draws rebuke
Palm Beach Post ^ | January 24, 2004 | John Pacenti

Posted on 01/24/2004 6:11:32 AM PST by AlwaysLurking

Disclosure of Limbaugh plea talks draws rebuke

By John Pacenti, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Saturday, January 24, 2004

WEST PALM BEACH -- The release Friday of hundreds of pages of records about the Rush Limbaugh investigation, including plea negotiations, incensed the radio commentator's attorney and brought renewed charges of a smear campaign by prosecutors.

Responding to a conservative legal foundation's request for documents to support such a theory, State Attorney Barry Krischer's office released allegedly confidential letters between Limbaugh's attorney and prosecutors in which each side rejected the other's proposal late last year to make the prescription fraud case go away.

Limbaugh's attorneys wanted pretrial intervention, a sentencing program that would require Limbaugh to continue his drug treatment for an admitted addiction to painkillers.

Krischer's office countered that, in exchange for not unsealing his seized medical records, Limbaugh could plead to one count of "doctor shopping," a third-degree felony, and take three years' probation and community service.

"Mr. Limbaugh never considered accepting the state's ludicrous offer," Limbaugh attorney Roy Black said in statement. "He was not going to plea to something he did not do."

Limbaugh's lawyers, as well as the Landmark Legal Foundation, which made the public records request Jan. 15, saw the release of the letters to the media as another example of Krischer using a double-standard in the case.

Routinely, the state attorney's office says it won't comment on plea negotiations or investigations. Krischer's office has steadfastly held that Limbaugh's rights have been scrupulously protected during the investigation.

Black said Krischer violated Florida law and legal ethics by releasing the documents.

According to the records, Krischer's office consulted with the state Attorney General's Office and the Florida Bar before releasing the information.

Landmark said it was considering taking Krischer to court over the released documents, which were given to the media. Landmark, based in Herndon, Va., and Kansas City, said Friday it had not received the documents, which were made available by the state attorney's office through a West Palm Beach copy shop.

"Depending on what's been released, we may be inviting him to join us to have a conversation in front of a judge," said Mark Levin, director of Landmark.

A former U.S. attorney said the issue most likely will be heading to court. Miami attorney Kendall Coffey said releasing settlement negotiations could have a chilling effect in future cases. For example, he said, a co-defendant could file a public records request and find out if an accomplice was negotiating with prosecutors.

"Evidently, the state attorney general has taken a broad view of what many will dispute," said Coffey, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1993 to 1996. "I don't think the ramifications of this matter are confined to high-profile subjects. They reach across the board."

Joanne Carrin, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said it's not unusual for local agencies to call and ask questions about the public records law. She said the office knows of no exceptions to the public records law for documents relating to settlement negotiations.

The Florida Bar said it couldn't comment on the Limbaugh case and does not give legal advice. But according to a memo dated Thursday from Krischer's office, the Bar told prosecutors it had an ethical obligation to release the letters.

Meanwhile, with all the hoopla over the Limbaugh case, the 53-year-old Palm Beach resident has yet to be charged.

Medical records still sealed

Limbaugh's drug use became public when his former maid, Wilma Cline, told the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer for an October story that she provided the radio host with thousands of illegal pain pills.

According to an Oct. 3 letter from Black to Assistant State Attorney James Martz, Limbaugh offered his assistance in any investigation into Cline and her husband, David. The next week Limbaugh told his listeners he was addicted to painkillers and entered a five-week drug rehabilitation program in Arizona.

Limbaugh has denied breaking any law, saying he became addicted to prescription pills while being treated for back and ear pain.

"Mr. Limbaugh went to these doctors to relieve chronic, intractable pain. There was no doctor shopping," Black said Friday.

When he returned to the air Nov. 17, Limbaugh accused Krischer's office of investigating him for political reasons. Eight days later, investigators executed search warrants for his medical records from doctors in medical offices in Jupiter and West Palm Beach. The medical records remain sealed as Limbaugh appeals a circuit judge's decision to allow prosecutors to view them.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons are filing legal briefs on behalf of Limbaugh, saying release of his medical records would undermine doctor-patient confidentiality.

To obtain the court-approved search warrants, investigators used records from the Lewis Pharmacy near Limbaugh's Palm Beach mansion that showed he filled prescriptions for more than 2,000 pills of painkillers, including OxyContin, and anxiety medications.

Black, in a Dec. 11 letter, proposed that Limbaugh be referred to the pretrial diversion program. In that scenario, Limbaugh's addiction treatment would be monitored and, if successful, the case would be stricken from his record.

"Mr. Krischer told me specifically that the office policy is not to prosecute addicts/users of illegal controlled substances, but to go after the doctors who prescribed them illegally and the pushers on the street," Black wrote.

A note on top of the letter says it is confidential as part of settlement discussions under Florida law and Florida rules of criminal procedure.

In a Dec. 15 letter, Krischer's office rejected the proposal, saying the pharmacy records would support more than 10 felony counts of doctor shopping against Limbaugh. Doctor shopping is when a patient dupes at least two doctors into prescribing excessive medication.

Also in the letter, Martz told Black that, if Limbaugh pleaded guilty to one count of doctor shopping, prosecutors would recommend three years' probation, random drug tests and community service to raise public awareness of prescription drug addiction. The medical records would remain sealed and a guilty conviction would not appear on Limbaugh's record.

"We hadn't even had a chance to communicate our rejection of the state's supposedly confidential but preposterous proposal, when we received a call from a news reporter asking if it was true that Mr. Limbaugh was going to plead guilty," Black said Friday.

Incensed, Black wrote a letter to Krischer asking that his spokesman, Mike Edmondson, be criminally investigated for a deliberate pattern of disclosures "to publicly destroy Mr. Limbaugh's reputation."

"To date, our demand has been met with deafening silence," Black said.

'Journalist shopping' claim

Black told cable TV news channel MSNBC on Jan. 14 that he felt Krischer was kowtowing to public pressure. In Friday's public disclosure, more than 300 letters and e-mails from the public -- most urging Limbaugh's prosecution -- were released.

On Jan. 15, Landmark, a conservative legal firm that has sued the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies, entered the picture, seeking documents because it was concerned Krischer may be trying "to punish Rush for his viewpoints." It accused the state attorney of "journalist shopping."

Levin, Landmark's director, said a letter faxed from Krischer's office Friday seemed to be contradictory to what was released. It stated that "communications which include references to the facts which led to the ongoing investigation" would not be part of the records released.

"I've never seen anything like this," Levin said. "They made it quite clear this is the sort of thing we wouldn't get. I don't know what game they're playing. I think this is a very serious error in judgment."

The Limbaugh camp said the disclosure was illegal and is further proof of a smear campaign. "Because the state has no case against Mr. Limbaugh they continually seek to discredit him in the media," Black said.

john_pacenti@pbpost.com


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: limbaugh; palmbeach; plea; rush; rushlimbaugh
http://home.hpphoto.com/servlet/LinkPhoto?GUID=1b7d416b-15b8-5ff3-1920-70043582308a&size=

Gotta love this photo!

1 posted on 01/24/2004 6:11:33 AM PST by AlwaysLurking
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To: AlwaysLurking
http://home.hpphoto.com/servlet/LinkPhoto?GUID=1b7d416b-15b8-5ff3-1920-70043582308a&size=
2 posted on 01/24/2004 6:13:32 AM PST by AlwaysLurking
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To: AlwaysLurking
So records are "confidential" unless someone sues to make them not so?
3 posted on 01/24/2004 6:13:42 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrack of news.)
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To: LS
If so, can I sue to get x42's medical records?
4 posted on 01/24/2004 6:15:39 AM PST by McGruff
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To: AlwaysLurking
Put a fish with a rose in its mouth per Pellicano tactics in the DA's car.......
5 posted on 01/24/2004 6:18:57 AM PST by prognostigaator
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To: AlwaysLurking
I hope I never have more pain than the law allows. Hang in there, Rush!
6 posted on 01/24/2004 6:19:52 AM PST by spacealien (What world is this?)
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To: AlwaysLurking
I suggest we send some emails of our own, politiely opining that Rush is being unfairly targeted. Barry Krischer

If they conduct the law by how many people contact them instead of by the book, let our voices be heard.

7 posted on 01/24/2004 6:22:04 AM PST by veronica ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." GW Bush 1-20-04)
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To: AlwaysLurking
Barry Krishner must be destroyed.
8 posted on 01/24/2004 6:26:32 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: Lazamataz
Barry Krishner must be destroyed.

I think politely calling or emailing would be the better route. See my above post for his contact info.

9 posted on 01/24/2004 6:31:09 AM PST by veronica ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." GW Bush 1-20-04)
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To: veronica
I think politely calling or emailing would be the better route. See my above post for his contact info.

No, I want to see him destroyed. He should not have a job as a DA.

Heck, he should not have ANY job.

EVER.

10 posted on 01/24/2004 6:33:52 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: All
All this info and Limbaugh has yet to be charged. Sounds more and more like a political attack rather than a legal attack. Well, the libs did say they were going to take him down. Notice how quiet they are. Their law enforcement boot lickers are doing the job. FLORIDA!!
11 posted on 01/24/2004 6:34:50 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: AlwaysLurking
"There is probably an element of malice in the readiness to overestimate people: we are laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size."
12 posted on 01/24/2004 6:34:58 AM PST by RunningJoke
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To: AlwaysLurking
Why does everyone keep calling this a Plea negotiation. You cannot have a plea bargain deal until you have been charged with a crime.

All this is, is a lawyer saying "hey look, my guy admitted he has a drug problem and he is seeking help for it. How about you do what you have done many many times and drop the charges"

13 posted on 01/24/2004 6:38:34 AM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: commish
Get out of West Palm, this thing is gonna blow.

They PO both Mr. Black and Mr. Levin (The Great One), look out.

14 posted on 01/24/2004 6:44:17 AM PST by AGreatPer
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To: holdonnow
"Depending on what's been released, we may be inviting him to join us to have a conversation in front of a judge," said Mark Levin, director of Landmark.

Thank you and God bless you.

15 posted on 01/24/2004 6:46:22 AM PST by truthkeeper
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To: commish
drop the charges

This should say drop the investigation, see even I called it charges!!!

16 posted on 01/24/2004 6:51:34 AM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: commish
"...drop the charges..."


My guess is any charges will be dropped shortly after the 2004 presidential election is over. I think this may be some strange kind of "payback" for Rush's part in the 2000 election (or what some idiot assumes Rush did to help Bush in 2000 in Florida)...and, as we all know, paybacks are a b*%#h!
17 posted on 01/24/2004 7:05:14 AM PST by Maria S ("I will do whatever the Americans want…I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid." Gaddafi, 9/03)
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To: Lazamataz
I'm with you, Laz. This guy and his henchmen need some serious freeping, everywhere they go. Not a minute's peace. Let them know what they are up against.
18 posted on 01/24/2004 7:18:16 AM PST by speedy
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To: AlwaysLurking
....prosecutors in which each side rejected the other's proposal late last year to make the prescription fraud case go away....

To make it "go away"?? Shoo! Scat! Go on now! Get!

19 posted on 01/24/2004 7:20:00 AM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: Lazamataz
No, I want to see him destroyed. He should not have a job as a DA.

Heck, he should not have ANY job.

EVER.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Well, good golly Miss Molly, I am in agreement with you.

Now how about a plan of attack?
21 posted on 01/24/2004 7:25:05 AM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: bvw
Appreciate the suggestion, bvw. But probably best to focus on the protagonist Krischer here.
22 posted on 01/24/2004 7:26:02 AM PST by speedy
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To: onyx
Well, good golly Miss Molly, I am in agreement with you. Now how about a plan of attack?

I have a plan. It involves a hotel room, almond oil, a polaroid camera, and a walrus.

23 posted on 01/24/2004 7:29:44 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: onyx
We will have to rely on local Freepers to carry most of the load. Maybe we should initiate a forum dedicated to a strategy. This is an important battle. Both series and hugh.
24 posted on 01/24/2004 7:31:06 AM PST by speedy
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To: Lazamataz
I have your walrus right here. The camera could be tougher to arrange.
25 posted on 01/24/2004 7:32:09 AM PST by speedy
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To: speedy
I have your walrus right here. The camera could be tougher to arrange.

That doesn't help. I have a closet full of walruses. I need the camera.

For the want of a nail, the horse was lost....

26 posted on 01/24/2004 7:35:28 AM PST by Lazamataz (The Republicans have turned into Democrats, and the Democrats have turned into Marxists.)
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To: Lazamataz
Drat. Everybody has a walrus these days. They've become as commonplace as zebus and dik-diks. My kingdom for a camera.
27 posted on 01/24/2004 7:40:37 AM PST by speedy
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To: Lazamataz
I'm working on the camera and the Almond oil, but I may had to trade for them, can you lay your hands on following?

1 ton of Yak hair
1 fried sasquatch
28 posted on 01/24/2004 7:45:25 AM PST by GreenLanternCorps ( An ancestor of mine, by the name of Noah, was once Admiral of the Combined Fleets of my planet.)
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To: Lazamataz; speedy; redlipstick
I have a plan. It involves a hotel room, almond oil, a polaroid camera, and a walrus.

ROFLMAO! You two are too much.

redlipstick, how about pinging the FLA people. You game for this? LOL!

29 posted on 01/24/2004 7:45:38 AM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: GreenLanternCorps
had=have

30 posted on 01/24/2004 7:46:04 AM PST by GreenLanternCorps ( An ancestor of mine, by the name of Noah, was once Admiral of the Combined Fleets of my planet.)
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To: onyx
And just what is so funny about almond oil? Would you prefer we use creme fraiche? I don't think Krischer would fall for that one.
31 posted on 01/24/2004 7:54:09 AM PST by speedy
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To: Sacajaweau
All this info and Limbaugh has yet to be charged. Sounds more and more like a political attack rather than a legal attack. Well, the libs did say they were going to take him down. Notice how quiet they are. Their law enforcement boot lickers are doing the job. FLORIDA!!



The paw prints of the clintoons are all over this. I can hear hillary in the background now saying, "Do whatever it takes to destroy Rush." The clintons and their minions hate Rush for telling the truth about them. God bless you Rush!
32 posted on 01/24/2004 7:54:30 AM PST by Lucky2 (Before I die, I want Bill and Hillary tried for treason and jailed (executed) for their crimess.)
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To: LS
So records are "confidential" unless someone sues to make them not so?

That's the DAs argument when he cites the AG opinion on the open records law, but then they don't provide the records in question to the party bringing the open records suit, they dump them to the media.

The folks in the DAs office may actually do jail time over this. Further, Limbaugh may end up owning much of Florida out of his defamation and selective prosecution lawsuits.

33 posted on 01/24/2004 8:30:30 AM PST by Phsstpok (often wrong, but never in doubt)
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To: AlwaysLurking
I confess I haven't been following this whole debacle, since I've heard Limbaguh's own words and actions and have privately adjudged him guilty, but what does Landmark have to do with anything? Are they being retained by RL or are they just a 3rd-party? Seems to me that they wanted documents released and they HAVE been: Landmark, and anybody else, can view them. Did they only want the documents released to THEM? Why?
34 posted on 01/24/2004 8:36:30 AM PST by solitas (sleep well, gentle reader; but remember there ARE such things...)
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To: AlwaysLurking
"Landmark said it was considering taking Krischer to court over the released documents, which were given to the media. Landmark, based in Herndon, Va., and Kansas City, said Friday it had not received the documents, which were made available by the state attorney's office through a West Palm Beach copy shop."

Is Landmark trying to say here that the public records should only be released to him in private?

It seems like he's getting what he asked for... Per his request...

"Landmark Legal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit legal organization, seeks this information for public dissemination and education."

It appears that it is being disseminated...
35 posted on 01/24/2004 8:38:11 AM PST by RS (Just because they're out to get him doesn't mean he's not guilty)
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To: veronica
"I think politely calling or emailing would be the better route. See my above post for his contact info."

Best be polite... LLF will demand a copy of it, and it will be posted on thesmokinggun in a week !
36 posted on 01/24/2004 8:42:12 AM PST by RS (Just because they're out to get him doesn't mean he's not guilty)
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To: AlwaysLurking
"According to an Oct. 3 letter from Black to Assistant State Attorney James Martz, Limbaugh offered his assistance in any investigation into Cline and her husband, David. "

Now THIS I would love to see !

... I'm assuming that a letter offering assistance might have some small mention that they were blackmailing him for enormous sums of money ?

Ya'think ?
37 posted on 01/24/2004 8:48:27 AM PST by RS (Just because they're out to get him doesn't mean he's not guilty)
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To: All
Can one of you Freepers who has some connection to Rush, please ask him directly if charges have been filed. Not that I don't trust the media, but this plea deal thing makes no sense.
38 posted on 01/24/2004 9:27:59 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: Phsstpok
I hope you're right. My sense is that he is in fact guilty of "doctor shopping," which is like saying you or I are guilty of speeding at any given time. Big deal---but it is a violation of the law that a vindictive Dem can use to prosecute, and I doubt Rush has any credible defense.
39 posted on 01/24/2004 11:09:48 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrack of news.)
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To: LS
My sense is that he is in fact guilty of "doctor shopping,"

Actually, I don't believe that even that is true. Two of the doctors involved were in one practice and were both part of his treatement for his back pain, therefore they would have had, by definition, access to all of his records and prescriptions. The other two doctors were involved in the treatment of his deafness, and he was referred to them by his primary physician's practice, which is the one where he was being treated for his back pain. It's normal practice for a patient's records to be forwarded to the new specialist in that position, so it is again reasonable to assume that these doctor's also knew his history and his full spectrum of treatment, including the medicatin the other doctors had prescribed.

If these set of facts are indeed accurate (who knows, given all of the contradictory leaks?) then the case doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

40 posted on 01/24/2004 11:24:08 AM PST by Phsstpok (often wrong, but never in doubt)
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To: AlwaysLurking; holdonnow
Responding to a conservative legal foundation's request for documents to support such a theory, State Attorney Barry Krischer's office released allegedly confidential letters between Limbaugh's attorney and prosecutors in which each side rejected the other's proposal late last year to make the prescription fraud case go away.

This blew up in the face of Landmark. Sure, it's easy to second guess, but WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

41 posted on 01/24/2004 3:51:14 PM PST by ClintonBeGone (sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here)
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To: Phsstpok
Well, you certainly know more about this than I do, and if what you say is accurate, then you're right, there isn't a case. What the hell are the prosecutors thinking?
42 posted on 01/24/2004 4:17:16 PM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrack of news.)
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To: AlwaysLurking
>...Roy Black said in statement. "He was not going to plea to something he did not do."<
Well then, what 'did' he do? Why would Rush offer to be placed in the 'pretrial diversion program', if he (Rush) didn't think he would be convicted of some charge
with a greater penalty?
It seems to me that if Rush needs more rehab time, that could be arranged privately.
Also,in the released-documents, is there any discussion of
the issue of ?; Rush ratting on his doctors.
43 posted on 01/24/2004 6:31:08 PM PST by greasepaint
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To: ClintonBeGone
"This blew up in the face of Landmark. Sure, it's easy to second guess, but WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?"

... That Rush is innocent of everything and Roy Black is an upstanding ethical lawyer who, when he says he is not plea bargaining, would not be plea bargaining...

The moral of the story is be carefull what you wish for.. you might get it ...
44 posted on 01/24/2004 6:37:12 PM PST by RS (Just because they're out to get him doesn't mean he's not guilty)
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To: LS
"What the hell are the prosecutors thinking?

Right now it appears that they are thinking that they have probable cause for 10 felony convictions against Rush.

So far 2 Judges have agreed on probable cause and a third has said the way they went about it was OK by him...

... right now Black is thinking how much money he can suck out of Rush's accounts before they seize it to pay the fines....
45 posted on 01/24/2004 6:42:21 PM PST by RS (Just because they're out to get him doesn't mean he's not guilty)
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To: RS; holdonnow
The moral of the story is be carefull what you wish for.. you might get it ...

Ding Ding Ding!

46 posted on 01/25/2004 5:46:22 AM PST by ClintonBeGone (sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here)
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