Jury selection continues Tuesday in Painter trial

Jury selection was not completed Monday in the computer fraud and aggravated identity theft trial of Murphy J. Painter, former commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

Jury selection would resume Tuesday morning in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, of Baton Rouge.

Painter, 60, of Gonzales, pleaded not guilty to all charges resulting from a joint FBI and Louisiana Office of Inspector General investigation, which began after the Gov. Bobby Jindal administration fired him in August 2010.

The indictment alleges Painter used confidential federal and state law enforcement databases for personal purposes. The identity theft charges stem from allegations that Painter sometimes used ATC employees’ computers for those database searches.

Painter testified at a pretrial hearing that all of his searches of an FBI database were related to ATC criminal investigations. He made the same statement for driver license searches of a state law enforcement database.

The former commissioner also contends he was fired by Jindal because he refused to grant a liquor license for an entertainment square outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Assistant U.S. attorneys M. Patricia Jones, Cam T. Le and Shubhra Shivpuri argued in pre-trial hearings and filings, however, that Painter sought personal information on dozens of individuals on matters unrelated to criminal investigations.

Among those individuals were Wendy Vitter, wife of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.; television reporter Keitha Nelson; Painter’s former administrative assistant Kelli Suire; and Suire’s attorney, Jill Craft, court records show.