(AP) — A former commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control was allowed to remain free without bail Tuesday on federal charges that he illegally gained national crime computer information on people who were not under investigation.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Riedlinger required Murphy J. Painter to surrender his passport and a gun collection and is expected back in court next week. Painter, who resigned in 2010 after 14 years in office, has not commented on the indictment but has denied any wrongdoing. Shortly after his resignation, he told a Baton Rouge television station the allegations were orchestrated to smear him
Painter was indicted May 23 on charges of computer fraud, making false statements and identity theft.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Walter Green said Painter lied to the FBI to gain personal information on several people from the computers of the National Crime Information Center. He also is alleged to have gained unauthorized access to information from the Louisiana Law Enforcement Telecommunications System.
The indictment came more than a year after a report from Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street’s office said Painter illegally gained state and federal information on a state representative, state district court judges, staff members of the Legislature and governor’s office and the wife of a U.S. senator.
Even though he resigned, Painter has filed a lawsuit against the governor’s office, saying he was fired for not bowing to a demand to grant a liquor license for an entertainment square outside the Louisiana Superdome. The governor’s office said later that Painter was asked to resign for inappropriately accessing government databases.
The Office of the State Inspector General said it investigated Painter for nearly five years following a complaint from a former ATC employee.
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.
Investigators said between Feb. 25, 2005, and Aug. 13, 2010, Painter abused his power, mostly looking for personal information about females in the New Orleans, Gonzales and Baton Rouge areas..