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Gloria Allred: Rush Limbaugh Should Be Prosecuted For Controversial Comments About Sandra Fluke

By MATT SEDENSKY 03/ 9/12 03:39 PM ET AP

Gloria Allred Rush Limbaugh
Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, one of the judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, speaks during a news conference for judges at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A high-profile attorney is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be prosecuted on a defamation charge, saying an obscure Florida law can be used to punish him for calling a college student a "slut" and a "prostitute" on the air.

Gloria Allred, the famed celebrity lawyer, sent a letter to the Palm Beach County Attorney's Office on Thursday saying prosecutors should consider a charge under an 1883 law making it a misdemeanor to question a woman's chastity.

"He has personally targeted her and vilified her, and he should have to bear the consequences of his extremely outrageous, tasteless and damaging conduct," Allred said in a phone interview Friday.

Limbaugh had no immediate comment on the letter and didn't address it in his radio show Friday. Rachel Nelson, a spokeswoman for Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks Inc., said the network had nothing further to add.

Denise Nieman, the county attorney, said she forwarded the letter to the state attorney's office, which handles criminal matters. The state attorney's office had no immediate comment.

Allred focused her efforts on Palm Beach because Limbaugh both lives and broadcasts his show from the county. She cited a state law that says, "Whoever speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree."

Allred has a long history of taking on high-profile cases, most recently representing a woman who claimed to have been sexually harassed by former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and a woman who received lewd messages from former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Whether prosecutors will take the request seriously and whether such a case could pose First Amendment issues remained to be seen. But the law should be used because it's still on the books, Allred said.

"I'm sure he has an army of highly paid attorneys in his entourage to advise him about how he should defend himself," she said. "I'm concerned about the impact that he has had and that he wished to have had on women who choose to speak out and exercise their free speech."

The tumult began last week when Limbaugh discounted the appearance of a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, on Capitol Hill. Fluke testified to congressional Democrats in support of their national health care policy that would compel her Catholic college's health plan to cover her birth control, a comment Limbaugh seized on.

He said last Wednesday: "What does it say about the college coed ... who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex."

After an outcry – and the decision by numerous businesses to pull their ads from his show – he apologized, saying "I should not have used the language I did, and it was wrong."

Allred called that apology "meaningless."

Rush Limbaugh's controversial statements.
  • Rush Limbaugh on Sandra Fluke

  • Rush Limbaugh mocks Hu Jintao

    Limbaugh mocked China's president Hu Jintao in nonsense, ersatz Chinese.

  • Rush Limbaugh's Michael J. Fox allegations

    Limbaugh claimed that Michael J. Fox was "exaggerating" the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in a political ad where he advocated stem cell research. Limbaugh said:

    He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting.

  • Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" statement

    In 2007, Limbaugh was criticized for referring to veterans who support the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq as "phony soldiers." He later claimed that he had been referring to people who claimed to be veterans but never actually served in the military.

  • Rush Limbaugh: "I hope Obama fails"

    On the eve of Obama's inauguration, Limbaugh said, "I hope he fails." He later doubled down on those comments at CPAC 2009, and on his radio show a few months later, and in 2011.

  • Rush Limbaugh: "Barack The Magic Negro"

    In 2007 and 2008, Limbaugh played a song by "Barack the Magic Negro" that was written and recorded for his show. In the song, political satirist Paul Shanklin impersonates Al Sharpton singing that white people will vote for Barack Obama "'cause he's not from the hood."

  • Limbaugh laughs about Japanese earthquake victims

    In the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami in March 2011, Limbaugh said:

    The Japanese have done so much to save the planet. He's right. They've given us the Prius. Even now, refugees are still recycling their garbage, and yet Gaia levels them [laughs], just wipes them out. Wipes out their nuclear plants, all kinds of radiation. What kind of payback is this? That is an excellent question.

  • Rush Limbaugh dubs new Triple-Double Oreo the 'Obameo'

    In October 2011, Limbaugh described Kraft's new Triple Double Oreo as a "bi-racial cookie" and an "Or-Ba-Meo." This was not the first time Limbaugh has compared President Obama to an Oreo cookie. In a 2009 segment about food safety advocates, he said, "After that, they're gonna want the Oreos -- might have to put off until Obama's out of office."

  • Limbaugh: Media Can't Decide If Moochelle Obama Was Booed At NASCAR Race

    In November 2011, Limbaugh accused Michelle Obama -- whom he frequently refers to as Moochelle -- of "uppityism" after she and Jill Biden were booed by NASCAR fans.

  • Limbaugh: Democrats Behind Loughner

    Limbaugh said, "What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He's sitting there in jail. He knows what's going on, he knows that... the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he's just a victim."

  • Limbaugh: "Driving Miss Nancy" is Rep. Jim Clyburn's new position

    In November 2010, Limbaugh suggested that Rep. Jim Clyburn could chauffeur Nancy Pelosi if he failed to win the race for House minority whip. "He gets to keep the car. He gets to go everywhere she goes, parties and everything else," Limbaugh said. "He's not in the back of the bus. He's in the driver's seat, and she's in the back of the car being chauffeured. Solved problem."

  • Limbaugh attacks Michelle Obama over her weight

    Rush Limbaugh attacked Michelle Obama for her weight, calling her out for eating ribs on a trip with her daughters. "The problem is, and I dare say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice," Limbaugh said. "And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving and 141 grams of fat per serving." He continued, "I'm trying to say our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months, or what have you."

  • Rush Limbaugh: "You Had Better Look Like An Ethiopian"

    Rush Limbaugh was back with another hit out on Michelle Obama's weight, days after criticizing her eating ribs while on vacation. This time, his comment was even more incendiary. "The point is, if you'ree going to do this, if you are going to tell everyone to eat twigs and berries and gravel and all this other stuff, you had better look like an Ethiopian."

  • Rush Limbaugh: Herman Cain Could Be Our First Authentically Black President

    After Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll, Limbaugh said that if elected president, "Herman Cain could be our first authentically black president." After explaining the comment to a caller, Limbaugh turned to his call screen "Bo Snerdley" (real name James Golden) for an Ebonics skit. RNC chair Michael Steele later called the skit "stupid."

  • Rush Limbaugh On Democrats Having Abortions

    In February 2012, Limbaugh reacted to the national debate about contraception with on a long rant about contraception, abortions and women. He alleged that Planned Parenthood is "a money-laundering operation for the Democrat party," and said, "The vast majority of people having abortions are Democrat voters."

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Filed by Adam Goldberg  |