Deadline set to get on with investigation against Murphy Painter - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Deadline set to get on with investigation against Murphy Painter

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By Keitha Nelson - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Office of Inspector General now has a deadline to get on with the criminal investigation against former Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter.

Tuesday in court, Painter's attorney, Murphy Foster, said his client has been "dangling in the wind" as he says investigators drag out this case against Painter.

Painter is accused of abusing his power while working for the commission.

"We wanted some finality to this investigation that's been going on since at least August that we know of," said Foster.

He says his client's life has been turned upside down. Painter resigned from his position as head of ATC in August. Shortly after, allegations surfaced that he conducted illegal criminal background checks. And among other things, Painter's former colleague, Kelli Suire, accused him of stalking and harassment. She's now suing him.

"We just want to know when that investigation is going to be over," said Foster. My client has to defend allegations that are credibly damaging to his reputation. He might never get his reputation back."

In early October Foster subpoenaed the Louisiana State Police to get information gathered on the investigation into Suire's case, things like emails, statements and recordings. LSP fired back with a motion to dismiss the subpoena. Tuesday, a judge agreed with State Police.

"You can't run around and subpoena a criminal investigation because you want an inside track," said Attorney Jill Craft.

Craft is representing Suire. She believes Foster was trying to get the upper hand before Painter's deposition, scheduled for early December.

Foster says Suire has changed her statement before and he simply wants to get to the bottom of things.

"The plaintiff's deposition will be taken in December and we'll be interested to see which story she tells then," said Foster.

Ultimately, Judge Michael Caldwell gave OIG a deadline of February 28th, 2011 to get the case into the hands of the District Attorney and request prosecution.

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