Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred who has made a name taking on cases for female victims has called upon the Florida State Attorney’s Office to criminally prosecute conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for controversial comments he made in February about contraception activist Sandra Fluke.
Allred has asked Florida State Attorney Michael McAuliffe in West Palm Beach to prosecute Limbaugh under an obscure state statute, which resembles many statutes that have already been repealed around the country. Allred wants Limbaugh prosecuted for calling Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” last week during one of his shows.
Politico reported that Allred told them in an interview, “Mr. Limbaugh targeted his attack on a young law student who was simply exercised her free speech and her right to testify before congress on a very important issue to millions of American women and he vilified her. He defamed her and engaged in unwarranted, tasteless and exceptionally damaging attacks on her. He needs to face the consequences of his conduct in every way that is meaningful.”
Representing the Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund, Allred sent a March 8 letter to Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, asking him to consider whether the conservative radio personality had violated Section 836.04 of the Florida Statutes. The statute says that anyone who “speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity” is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor.
Allred told Politico that the Florida statute was brought to her attention as having never been repealed, but that it could possibly apply to Limbaugh’s comments since his radio show is broadcast from West Palm Beach. The Florida State Attorney’s Office will now have to use their prosecutorial discretion and decide whether there will be criminal charges filed.
According to Politico:
Allred, whose most recent high-profile clients have included Sharon Bialek, who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment, and porn star Ginger Lee, who exchanged explicit emails with former Rep. Anthony Weiner, said Friday that she has not yet been in touch with Fluke.
“I don’t reach out to women, they reach out to me,” she said. “If she did reach out to me, obviously I would respond.”
Limbaugh’s contentious remarks, made against Fluke for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception, resulted in widespread public outrage and dozens of advertisers pulling their commercials from his three-hour program.
“I understand why sponsors are abandoning Mr. Limbaugh in droves,” Allred said. “I think sponsors that remain with him are supporting him and providing commercial dollars to him and his program, condoning what he said.” She added, “Hitting him economically is one price that he has to pay. He needs to be accountable in every way possible.”
In another recent twist, the UK Daily Mail has reported that a group calling itself “The Women of the 99 Percent” is making illegal robocalls in an attempt to link Republican members of the House of Representatives to "the war on women led by Rush Limbaugh.”
According to the Daily Mail:
The automated calls are illegal because they do not state who they are from (there is no known group called The Women of the 99 Percent) or provide a callback number, as required under the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.
Using the Left-wing "Occupy" terminology of the 99 percent versus the one percent, they appear to be the most aggressive attempt yet by Democrats to exploit politically the recent furore over comments by the controversial conservative radio talk show host.
Democrats have been taking Republicans to task over the comments. David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's top strategist, said that Mitt Romney, the Republican frontrunner, had failed "a test of leadership" over "the Limbaugh thing". He ask how if a candidate couldn't stand up to "the most strident voices in your party how can he stand up to Ahmadinejad?"
A call left on the answering machine of Paula Bolyard of Doylestown, Ohio yesterday stated: "Hello, this is a message from Women of the 99 percent. Congressman Jim Renacci is condoning the war on women led by Rush Limbaugh, who has become the de facto leader of the Republican party.
"Call Congressman Renacci at 330-489-4414 and ask him why he remains silent while Republican spokesman Rush Limbaugh insults, degrades, and verbally abuses women. Tell Congressman Renacci that it’s just plain shameful that he that he allows Rush Limbaugh’s behaviour to continue. We are the Women of the 99 percent and we won’t be silent anymore."
The Daily Mail reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not return calls about the matter.