Karen Carter Peterson will plead guilty to using party and campaign funds for gambling, reports say

Former state legislator and Louisiana Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson is set to admit in federal court that she used party funds and campaign money to support her gambling addiction, report several media.

The reports all cite unnamed sources who say a guilty plea could soon come from Peterson, who abruptly resigned from the Louisiana Senate in April. The Times-Picayune reports that the FBI is specifically looking into payments made by the Democratic Party to a New Orleans consulting firm.

Peterson’s attorney, Brian Capetelli, did not confirm the details of the reports when the Illuminator joined him on Wednesday evening. He provided a statement to the media in response.

“This marks an important milestone in Ms. Peterson’s recovery as she continues to battle her gambling addiction,” Capetelli said in the statement. “She is sincerely remorseful for her compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction and has fully refunded the funds used due to her addiction.

“She has been forthright, honest and cooperative with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in their investigation.”

In announcing his departure from the Senate, Peterson spoke of the need to focus on his mental health. She acknowledged her gambling and depression issues, saying she was sober and “out of the betting…for a long time”. Peterson added that she continues to participate in a recovery program.

In 2019, Peterson received a misdemeanor citation at a Baton Rouge casino for violating a self-imposed ban. She acknowledged her addition to the game and claimed at the time that the incident was leaked to the media.

Peterson led the state party from 2012 to 2020 and held a seat in the Louisiana Legislative Assembly for 22 years. As arguably the most outspoken critic of anti-abortion efforts in the statehouse, her absence was noticeable last session when lawmakers approved making state laws even tougher.

Term limits would have forced Peterson to resign had she not resigned. She made the runoff last year for the 2nd Congressional District race, which she lost to fellow Senator Troy Carter.

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