Ex-state official Painter’s trial postponed

The criminal trial of Murphy J. Painter, former commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, did not open Monday as originally scheduled.

At Painter’s request, U.S. District Judge James J. Brady postponed the trial until April 22.

Painter faces federal charges of computer fraud, aggravated identity theft and making false statements to federal investigators.

The 59-year-old Gonzales resident is alleged to have accessed confidential personal information using the Louisiana Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

Some of those allegations first surfaced in a February 2011 report by the Louisiana Office of Inspector General, which accused Painter of using his official position to illegally obtain information on judges, the governor’s staff, U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s wife and others over a five-year period.

Court records also show that the state settled a civil suit in July 2011 by paying $20,000 to a former ATC employee who claimed Painter stalked and harassed her. In court documents, Painter has denied stalking or harassing the woman.