Thursday, December 25, 2003

Rush's blackmail

Rush Limbaugh's lawyer is now claiming that Limbaugh was being blackmailed by the maid who obtained the drugs for him, and presumably had to make all those suspicious withdrawals in order to pay the blackmail that she insisted on if she was not to go to the police. Limbaugh allegedly stopped paying, and she then ratted him out. There are a lot of problems with this story:

  1. Limbaugh's first explanation for the withdrawals was that it was just spending money and money for payments to contractors who worked on his house renovations. Did the blackmail somehow slip his mind?

  2. The attorney said that they bled Limbaugh dry, but also said the money involved was "about several hundred thousand dollars". Is that enough to bleed multi-millionaire Rush Limbaugh dry?

  3. Money is fungible, and illegal oxycontin in those quantities is very expensive. Did Limbaugh manage to keep his drug-buying money separate from his blackmail-paying money, so that his suspicious withdrawals were all for money to be used for blackmail payments? Can he prove that his suspicious withdrawals all took place at a time when he was no longer buying drugs but was only paying blackmail? It appears he was buying drugs right up until he went into rehab. Is his attorney alleging that he was paying his maid for drugs and simultaneously paying the same maid blackmail money? That must have been some oxycontin jones he had.

  4. The maid has already admitted that 'a lawyer for Limbaugh' gave her $80,000 that he owed her, plus another $120,000, and asked her to destroy the computer that contained the incriminating e-mail records. That's not blackmail. It's a bribe.

  5. It wouldn't be odd for a drug supplier to try to blackmail someone like Limbaugh by threatening to go to the police, but it would be very odd for her to actually carry out the threat. In order to go to the police she would have to admit involvement in a felony, so if she's a blackmailer, she must be a stupid one. The attorney's story that she went to the authorities to get immunity from prosecution so she and her husband could sell the story to the tabloids makes absolutely no sense. Who ever heard of a drug dealer going to the police, hoping that she would be granted immunity, but taking the huge risk that the police would just throw her in jail? The only time this kind of immunity deal would arise is if she was arrested, and attempted to use her knowledge of Limbaugh to bargain for a lesser charge. But that isn't what Limbaugh's attorney is alleging. On top of that, wouldn't any drug dealer realize how dangerous it would be to assume that the authorities would want to nab as powerful a figure as Limbaugh, when it is much more likely they would try to protect him? The maids of this world never win in these contests, and are fully aware of that fact.

  6. It is not clear to me that using money to pay blackmail gets you off the hook on a money laundering charge.

  7. Limbaugh's attorney's blackmail allegations constitute an implicit admission to the drug buying charge, as why else would Limbaugh be paying blackmail? If he is as innocent as he claims to be, there would be no possible basis for blackmail. He has been trying to emphasize the fact that he became addicted to prescribed medication, so the blackmail charge constitutes a major admission. Limbaugh and his attorney must feel that Limbaugh's real exposure is to the money laundering charge, for admitting to the massive drug purchasing is a big risk to take unless the alternatives are worse. Why are they so terrified of the money laundering charge that they would admit to the fact that Limbaugh had a weakness for which he could be blackmailed?

  8. The fact remains that Limbaugh bought thousands of pills, far, far more than he could possibly have consumed himself (his medical records list prescriptions for more than 2100 pills in a six month period, mostly painkillers, from four separate doctors, but he allegedly bought thousands of additional pills, including 4,350 in one 47-day period). He could not have simply been building a stash, as the maid indicated that he was insistent and panicky about getting his drugs in a hurry, as if he needed them right away. So what did Limbaugh do to dispose of all those drugs? I can't think of an innocent way to get rid of oxycontin.

  9. If Limbaugh had legitimate pain issues, why is he fighting tooth and nail to prevent prosecutors from seeing his medical records? How else are they going to determine if he was doctor shopping? If his doctors weren't properly medicating his pain - and sadistic doctors often don't provide sufficient prescriptions for painkillers (to be fair, a lot of them are very fearful of medical malpractice suits if the patient becomes addicted) - Limbaugh may have a good argument that his doctor shopping was merely his attempts to have his pain properly treated. His medical records would substantiate that argument, so why doesn't he voluntarily allow the prosecutors to see them? Could it be that they will reveal that he was not in sufficient pain to explain his massive purchases of drugs?

Limbaugh's attorney's strategy seems screwy. Alleging blackmail is a tacit admission to the drug purchasing, and doesn't really help with the money laundering charge. It also raises the issue of whether the payment made was actually a bribe (i. e., paying to cover up a crime, which could be construed as conspiracy or obstruction of justice). If Limbaugh's pain story is true, the only evidence that could help him prove it is in his medical records, and he is fighting hard to keep the prosecutors from seeing these records. He is not acting like an innocent man.