Louisiana Politician Struggling With Gambling Addiction Pays Back $50K

Posted on: July 14, 2022, 06:52h. 

Last updated on: July 14, 2022, 09:45h.

Karen Carter Peterson, a prominent Louisiana politician trying to recover from problem gambling, is likely to soon plead guilty to a federal charge, news reports reveal. On Wednesday, she paid back $50,000 to the state’s Democratic Party after allegedly improperly using the campaign money.

Karen Carter Peterson
Karen Carter Peterson, pictured above. The Louisiana politician has resigned, paid back $50,000 to the state’s Democratic Party, and may soon plead guilty to a charge, news reports claim. (Image: Karen Carter Peterson campaign)

Peterson is the subject of a federal investigation, WVUE, a local TV station, further reported. The investigation focuses on financial questions, the newspaper said. It also is related to her problem gambling, the report added.

It’s not clear what the reported possible plea deal involving Peterson includes. But sources told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate a guilty plea is likely.

Long Government Career

Peterson was in the Louisiana state senate for a dozen years. She stepped down earlier this year. For 10 years, she was a representative in the state house. Last year, she lost a close congressional race to Republican Troy Carter. She also was Louisiana Democratic Party chair between 2012 and 2020.

On the national stage, Peterson was a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee between 2017 and 2021.

In connection with her role on the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee, Peterson had an influential role in gambling-related legislation. Legislation that came before her included bills on sports betting, relocating water-based casinos onto land, video poker rules, and mobile fantasy sports games, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Move Toward Recovery

This week, Peterson’s lawyer, Brian Capitelli of New Orleans, a former federal prosecutor who now represents many defendants on white-collar criminal charges, said the recent moves by Peterson represent “an important step in Ms. Peterson’s recovery as she continues to address her gambling addiction.”

She is sincerely remorseful for her compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction and has made full repayment of funds used as a result of her addiction,” Capitelli told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. “She has been forthright, honest, and cooperative with the US Attorney’s Office in their investigation.”

News about her addiction was revealed three years ago. In 2019, Peterson was issued a summons for violating a self-imposed ban on entering a casino, WWL, a local TV station, reported. She had entered the L’Auberge Baton Rouge despite putting her own name on the exclusion list.

Peterson Shares Relapse

This past April, when stepping down from her political post, she announced she had gotten inpatient and outpatient treatment for depression and addiction. She also took to social media to share her remorse for her actions and relapse.

It is a disease,” Peterson wrote earlier this year. “From time to time, I have relapsed. I have let myself down, as well as family and friends who are near and dear to me.”

Her post also acknowledged the seriousness of gambling addiction, noting that it’s the “highest rate of suicide of all addictions. “