Painter federal trial to begin
BATON ROUGE - Murphy Painter, the former head of the state Alcohol and Tobacco Control Board, is set to head to trial today over federal charges he misused access to state and federal databases and lied to federal investigators.
The allegations came after Painter's assistant filed a sexual harassment complaint against him in 2010, claiming he was stalking her. Investigators said after looking into his records that Painter had performed more than a thousand questionable background checks on private citizens, people who were not regulated by the ATC.
Painter resigned from his position, and a grand jury indicted him last year. He faces 32 counts of computer fraud and lying to federal investigators.
At a hearing last month, Painter's defense team claimed that several files and folders were missing that contained data which would help make their case that his searches were for law enforcement purposes. Federal prosecutors said everything had been provided to them.
If convicted, Painter could face up to 82 years in prison and up to $12 million in fines.