Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street, Jr., who has recently been tasked with investigating the “sanitization” of LSP Lt. Col. Doug Cain’s phone.
In our eighth episode of our fascinating series of interviews with former Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) Commissioner, Murphy Painter, he rips to shreds Street’s testimony in Painter’s criminal trial.
Installment 8 of Sound Off Louisiana’s in-depth interviews with former Louisiana ATC Commissioner Murphy Painter.
Let’s focus in on just a small segment of Street’s transcript above to demonstrate just how aloof and detached Street portrayed himself when, as Painter said, it came time for Street to, “put up or shut up!”
[Defense attorney Michael Fawer posing the questions.]
Q. MR. STREET, INSTEAD OF SAYING “WE,” —
A. WHEN I SAY “WE,” I REFER TO MY OFFICE. I DID NOT PERSONALLY —
Q. WHO DID?
A. WAS I AWARE? I WAS AWARE THAT MEMBERS OF MY STAFF, WHICH WOULD START WITH SHANE EVANS, WHO WAS THE CASE AGENT, AND GREG PHARES, BUT I DON’T — THEY WOULD BE THE BETTER SOURCES OF ACTUALLY WHO TALKED TO WHO AND SAID WHAT AT WHAT TIME.
Q. TO SECURE THE BUILDING?
A. TO SECURE MR. PAINTER’S OFFICE IN PARTICULAR WITHIN THE ATC BUILDING.
Q. AND WHEN YOU SAY “SECURE IT,” JUST WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?
A. WELL, I BELIEVE — MY RECOLLECTION IS — AND THIS WOULD — AGAIN, THE QUESTION SHOULD BE POSED TO THE FOLKS THAT ACTUALLY DID THIS.
Q. NO, I’M ASKING YOU.
Q. MORE PRACTICAL PURPOSES, JUST THE OPPOSITE?
A. I TOLD THEM TO SECURE THE — I DIDN’T TELL THEM NOT TO. I SAID, GO SECURE THE PREMISES.
Q. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
A. TO SECURE THE PREMISES MEANS TO SECURE THE PREMISES.
Q. WHEN DID YOU LEARN THAT IT HAD BEEN — WHEN DID YOU FIRST LEARN THAT RATHER THAN SECURE THE PREMISES AND LEAVING EVERYTHING INTACT, THAT THE COMPUTER WAS REMOVED FROM THOSE PREMISES?
A. I DO NOT RECALL, SIR. I DON’T RECALL IT BEING THAT NIGHT. I DON’T RECALL — THOSE QUESTIONS WOULD BE BETTER —
Q. DO YOU KNOW —
A. — POSED TO MY STAFF.
Q. DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE COMPUTER WAS TAKEN TO?
A. NO, SIR, I DO NOT. I DO NOT RECALL PERSONALLY WHERE IT WAS TAKEN TO. I AM ASSUMING THAT IT WAS SECURED WITH THE EVIDENCE IN OUR OFFICE — IN OUR INSPECTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ON — AT THE TIME ON THIRD STREET IN DOWNTOWN BATON ROUGE.
A. BUT, AGAIN, THAT QUESTION IS BETTER POSED TO THE FOLKS THAT ACTUALLY DID THAT.
Q. OKAY. AND BY THE WAY, DO YOU KNOW WHO TOOK THE COMPUTER?
A. FROM PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE, NO, SIR. I’M AWARE THAT SHANE EVANS, MY CASE AGENT, WAS THE ONE WHO SEIZED IT BUT THAT, AGAIN, THAT QUESTION WOULD BE BETTER POSED TO THE FOLKS THAT ACTUALLY EXECUTED THE SEARCH WARRANT.
Q. DID YOU HAVE — DID YOU PLAY ANY ROLE IN
THE PREPARATION OR THE SECURING OF THE SEARCH WARRANT?
A. NO, SIR.
Q. IF YOU’D LOOK AT THAT, IS IT FAIRLY CLEAR IN
PARAGRAPH — YOU CAN READ IT. THAT IT’S — ACCORDING TO THE APPLICATION SIGNED BY SHANE EVANS, IT’S AT THE — AT MR. PAINTER’S — STILL AT MR. PAINTER’S OFFICE, RIGHT?
A. THE WARRANT IS FOR MR. PAINTER’S OFFICE, YES, SIR.
Q. IS THE DELL COMPUTER LISTED AMONG THE THINGS THEY WISH TO SEIZE?
A. YES, SIR.
Q. THAT’S A LIE.
A. I DISAGREE WITH THAT.
Q. YOU DO? AND WHAT PART OF IT DO YOU DISAGREE WITH?
A. WELL, THAT THAT’S A LIE, NO, SIR.
Q. WELL, LET’S PUT IT THIS WAY. IF SOMEBODY SWORE THAT THE COMPUTER WAS AT THE PREMISES OF THE ATC COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE AND, IN FACT, HE KNEW IT WAS NOT, WOULD YOU DEEM THAT A LIE?
A. I — SIR, I’M NOT GOING TO CHARACTERIZE IT AS A LIE OR A MISTAKE OR ANYTHING ELSE, AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, I’M GOING TO REMIND YOU THAT I DO NOT HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF WHERE THE COMPUTER WAS AT THE TIME OTHER THAN BEING INFORMED SO BY MY STAFF.
Q. I ACCEPT THAT.
A. SO I THINK THOSE QUESTIONS SHOULD BE POSED TO THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY EXECUTED AND APPLIED FOR THE WARRANT.
Q. YOU TOOK ISSUE WITH THE FACT THAT I CHARACTERIZED IT AS A LIE, BUT THAT’S ON THE PREMISE THAT IT WAS NOT THERE ANYMORE?
Q. THE JUDGE, NOT KNOWING THAT THAT’S A
MISREPRESENTATION, GIVES JUDICIAL AUTHORIZATION TO SEIZE THE COMPUTER AT THAT LOCATION, CORRECT?
Q. I HADN’T ASKED YOU, BUT THIS — THE APPLICATION, WHICH WAS, I THINK, EXHIBIT 4 —
A. YES, SIR.
Q. — WAS SWORN TO UNDER OATH BY SHANE EVANS?
A. I BELIEVE THAT’S CORRECT, YES, SIR.
Q. — RETURN ON THE SEARCH WARRANT, CLAIMING THAT THE COMPUTER WAS FOUND AT THE ADDRESS IT WAS NOT LOCATED AT, RIGHT?
Q. ONCE AGAIN, THAT RETURN PREPARED BY THE SAME MEMBER OF YOUR STAFF, SHANE EVANS?
A. THAT’S CORRECT.
Q. IF ANYONE KNEW — IS IT FAIR TO SAY, MR. STREET, IF ANYONE KNEW WHAT THE TRUTH WAS, IT WAS SHANE EVANS?
A. THAT’S CORRECT, SIR.
Q. YET HE REPRESENTED ON THE APPLICATION AND ON THE RETURN THAT — THAT THE COMPUTER WAS ON THE PREMISES AND THAT IT HAD BEEN FOUND ON THE PREMISES? TWO LIES, RIGHT? WELL, YOU WOULDN’T CALL THEM LIES?
A. I’M NOT GOING TO ACCEPT THAT CHARACTERIZATION. I THINK THAT QUESTION SHOULD BE POSED TO —
Q. I’M POSING IT TO YOU.
A. WELL, I’M NOT GOING TO ACCEPT THAT CHARACTERIZATION.
[Assistant U. S. Attorney Patricia Jones posing the questions.]
Q. DID MR. PAINTER EVER COMMUNICATE WITH YOU, EITHER PERSONALLY OR THROUGH COUNSEL, TO REQUEST THAT THE RESPONSE BE WITHDRAWN, AMENDED, CORRECTED, SUPPLEMENTED, OR REDACTED IN ANY WAY?
A. NO, MA’AM.
AND TO FURTHER CLARIFY, AT SOME POINT, AND I’M NOT SURE OF THE EXACT DATE, MR. PAINTER WAS NO LONGER REPRESENTED BY THE BREAZEALE SACHSE FIRM, AND HE CONTINUED TO SUBMIT PUBLIC RECORDS’ REQUESTS TO OUR OFFICE, WHICH WE RESPONDED TO. WE ALWAYS SENT SOMETHING IN WRITING TO HIM.
Q. SO HE DID THAT DIRECTLY WITHOUT COUNSEL?
A. DIRECTLY WITHOUT COUNSEL, YES, MA’AM. BUT AT NO POINT WERE WE EVER ASKED TO AMEND THE RESPONSE, OR WAS THERE NEVER ANY SORT OF REQUEST TO WITHDRAW OR AMEND IT AT ANY POINT OF TIME, EVEN TO THIS DAY.
Now, at the 13:20 mark of the above video, Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns references directly confronting Stephen Street, Jr., on the whole issue of his independence. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane (January, 2017) and view that little interaction between Street and Burns, shall we?:
Street, clearly uncomfortable with one-on-one questions from reporters, gets downright flippant with Burns regarding his question on the organization chart of other IG offices across the nation.
If anybody would like to invest just a few minutes of time, we think many folk will find our January 30, 2017 feature of Street’s Baton Rouge Press Club appearance to be an interesting read!
And to think: this is the guy entrusted to investigate the “sanitization” of LSP Chief of Staff Doug Cain’s phone. God help us all!
We look forward to delivering Episode 9 in the near future.
Previous Segments of Our Interviews with Murphy Painter:
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