Posted: Nov 28, 2011 4:37 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Nov 28, 2011 6:43 PM
BATON ROUGE- Former Alcohol Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter was in court today taking up a lawsuit he filed against the State Inspector General's Office, the Governor's Office and the Department of Revenue.
Painter claims he was defamed in the Inspector General's report released last year and wrongfully terminated by the Governor.
The Inspector General's Report released last year said Painter ran over a thousand names illegally in the statewide criminal database. Investigators also found he stalked a former employee, according to the report.
"He wants his name cleared," Painter's attorney Al Robert said. "He appreciates the opportunity to rebut these allegations."
Attorneys representing the state called Painter's allegations in his lawsuit bogus.
"Mr. Painter separated from public service for his own misconduct," Attorney for the Governor's Office, Jimmy Faircloth said. "Any objective person who reviewed the information about his termination would agree it was the right thing to do."
For the first time, Painter's attorney talked about his client accessing the statewide database on camera.
"That's one of the problems in the Inspector General's report," Robert said. "There's never been any finding he ran all those names. There were other people who had access to his credentials and could have run those names."
Preston Castille is representing the Inspector General's Office. He said their investigators have evidence linking Painter to running the names himself.
"If someone else ran 2,000 searches under his name while he was commissioner under his authority, there might be some other issues with management," Preston Castille said. "I think it's highly unlikely. We have credible sources who say he did and we have surveillance video indicating he was going in at the very time those searches were run."
The State settled several lawsuits out of court involving Painter this year. Those settlements totaled nearly a quarter of a million dollars.