Ex commissioner says he was framed
BATON ROUGE - Former Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) Commissioner, Murphy Painter took the stand Tuesday at a federal court for a motions hearing before his trial is scheduled to begin next month.
Painter argues, there are documents missing that would prove he was told by state leaders to look up thousands of people in federal and state criminal databases; which forced him to break the law.
He claimed on the stand, the only reasons he would have accessed the information would be if state lawmakers or the governor's office asked him to. He also added, he looked up people who requested to meet with him and names of people under investigation.
Painter's lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, which comes from an indictment in 2012 dealing with the searches. They say an investigator with the State Inspector General's office tampered with files on Painter's computer that would prove why he needed to access information on individuals.
The Office of the State Inspector General released a report detailing Painter's actions in February 2011. Months before, the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit uncovered the documents that revealed Painter's involvement in possible wrongdoing while he was in office.
Painter resigned in August of 2010 when allegations came to light that he had been searching for information on people outside of his ATC duties. Later, he was charged with computer fraud, making false statements and aggravated identity theft.
If convicted he faces a maximum of 82 years in prison and more than $12 million in fines.