Limbaugh is linked to drug probe, reports say. The radio host allegedly bought thousands of painkillers from a black-market drug ring, his ex-housekeeper says

By Gary Susman
Updated October 02, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

As if Rush Limbaugh didn’t have enough trouble. On Wednesday, the radio talk show host resigned under fire from his month-old gig on ESPN’s ”NFL Sunday Countdown” amid the furor over his racially tinged criticism of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb earlier this week. Then, on Thursday, the New York Daily News reported that Limbaugh is mentioned in a Florida investigation of a black-market drug ring, through which he allegedly purchased thousands of illicit prescription painkillers. The Daily News said it had independently confirmed Limbaugh is being investigated.

In a National Enquirer story, Wilma Cline, who said she was Limbaugh’s former housekeeper, said she spent four years supplying him with OxyContin, Lorcet, and hydrocodone, and that he went through detox twice. Cline’s attorney, Ed Shohat, told the Daily News his client ”stands behind the story.”

The state attorney’s office in Palm Beach, which is conducting the probe, would not officially confirm or deny whether Limbaugh’s name came up during the investigation. Nonetheless, law enforcement sources told CNN that Limbaugh, who has a home in Palm Beach, is not the focus of the probe, a two-year investigation into a multimillion-dollar black-market drug ring, but that his name came up as a possible buyer.

Limbaugh’s lawyers declined to comment to the Daily News except to say that his medical records were private, and Limbaugh’s reps at Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates his radio show nationwide, did not return’s calls by press time. However, Limbaugh himself issued a statement Thursday morning, saying, ”I am unaware of any investigation by any authorities involving me. No governmental representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required in the future, I will, of course, cooperate fully.”

Limbaugh did not address the drug allegations on Thursday during his speech at the National Association of Broadcasters in Philadelphia. According to the Associated Press, about half a dozen picketers protested Limbaugh’s presence. Maybe they were Philadelphia Eagles fans.