Prosecutors say Painter violated public's trust
BATON ROUGE- During fiery opening statements Wednesday, federal prosecutors told jurors former Alcohol Tobacco Control Commissioner violated the public's trust.
Prosecutors say Painter abused his authority and ran more than a thousand names in state and federal databases illegally. Many of those people did not have ties to ATC and were not applying for a liquor permit, according to prosecutors.
Among some of the prominent names are Wendy Vitter, the wife of US Senator David Vitter. Painter allegedly ran her name just days after she stood next to him at a press conference after he was tied to the "DC Madam." Painter also ran prominent Baton Rouge Attorney Jill Craft's name, for no legitimate reason according to prosecutors. He also printed out directions to her house.
Attorney Cam Lee said, "Those in public office shouldn't violate the public's trust. When he accepted public office, he promised to abide by regulations to keep the public's trust."
Defense lawyer Mike Fawer fired back. He told jurors that all of the names his client ran were legitimate.
"I submit to you the government will fail miserably showing these weren't done for law enforcement purposes," Fawer said. "We're here because Painter crossed swords with Governor Jindal."
Fawer urged jurors to use common sense when they deliberate.
"This is one of the only indictments of its kind in the history of the United States," Fawer said.
If convicted, Painter faces up to 80 years in prison and hefty fines. Wendy Vitter is expected to testify in the trial, which is estimated to last two weeks.