Testimony set to resume in Murphy Painter trial

Murphy Painter leaves the courtroom Friday.
Murphy Painter leaves the courtroom Friday.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Testimony will resume Monday in the federal trial against former Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter.

The trial is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m.

Painter is accused of using state and federal databases for more than 1,100 illegal background checks.

Jurors heard from four of the alleged victims Friday, including Painter's personal assistant, Kelli Suire, and former WAFB reporter Keitha Nelson.


Painter, 59, is accused of performing illegal background checks on hundreds of people, mainly women. He is being represented by attorney Michael Fawer, a high-profile lawyer out of New Orleans.

Painter was indicted on computer fraud, making false statements and aggravated identity theft by a grand jury on May 23, 2012. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on June 13, 2012. A judge released him on his own recognizance, so he is allowed to remain free throughout the trial.

Inspector General Stephen Street said Kelli Suire claimed Painter was stalking her. He said investigators later found Painter used state and Federal Bureau of Investigations databases to get personal information about Suire and her attorney, Jill Craft.

US Attorney Don Cazayoux said if Painter is convicted of the above charges, he could face a maximum of 82 years in prison and fines up to more than $12 million.

The indictment alleges Painter made false statements to FBI agents. He is accused of using law enforcement databases for "non-official criminal justice purposes." The indictment also claims Painter exceeded his authorized access and obtained person identification information on several people throughout the area.

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