BLM-endorsed Democratic candidate Karen Carter Peterson has received a 22-month sentence for stealing from the DNC to pay for her gambling trips. Peterson, a former Louisiana Democratic Party chair and state senator resigned from office in April, a month before she was accused of wire fraud. She pled guilty to stealing campaign and DNC funds in order to pay for her gambling junkets. She has already made restitution to her campaign and to the DNC.
The Department of Justice said in July that Peterson committed wire fraud and that she filed “false and misleading” campaign finance reports in order to cover up her crimes. Peterson says that she is addicted to gambling, but that she is working to kick the habit.
“Today marks an important step in my lifelong recovery as I continue to address my gambling addiction. I sincerely apologize for the impact from my compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction.”
Today marks an important step in my life-long recovery as I continue to address my gambling addiction. I sincerely apologize for the impact from my compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction. (1 of 2)#gamblingrecovery #makingamends
— KarenCarterPeterson (@TeamKCP) July 14, 2022
“I have made full repayment of funds used as a result of my addiction and I will continue to make amends. Staying true to the steps of my ongoing recovery, I have been forthright, honest, and fully cooperative with the US Attorneys’ Office in their investigation.”
Capping a dramatic fall from grace, longtime former state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson was sentenced Wednesday to 22 months in federal prison for taking more than $140,000 from the state Democratic Party’s coffers and from her own campaign account to gamble at casinos.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance, who imposed the sentence after an emotional hearing packed with the former senator’s relatives, ordered Peterson, 53, to surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons on March 6.
Peterson is a member of a prominent New Orleans political family whose father, Ken Carter, was a founder of the BOLD political organization and assessor for the city’s First Municipal District. Peterson spent more than 22 years in the Legislature representing Uptown, and served as chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party from 2013 through 2020. She also ran for Congress twice, losing in a runoff both times. She was one of the more outspoken members of the Legislature. Her willingness to be a lonely voice of opposition won her some admirers, but also often rubbed her colleagues the wrong way.
Her sentence was roughly half of the 41- to 51-month term called for in federal sentencing guidelines, which do not bind judges but figure prominently in their decision making.
The mercy shown by Vance at the conclusion of the 90-minute hearing was not nearly as fulsome as that requested by Peterson’s lawyers, who asked the judge to sentence the former lawyer to probation or home confinement.
BLM donated $100,000 to Peterson’s effort to get elected to the Second District, but she lost her bid for the seat.
Vance, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, noted skeptically that Peterson had a top-notch education and managed to have a successful business, political and consulting career over the seven-year period when her crimes occurred. Her lawyers’ claims that she suffered from diminished mental capacity, Vance said, “strain credulity.”
But Vance did appear to be moved by an abjectly emotional plea from former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s voice cracked at times as he sought to persuade Vance that a sentence of four years or more would be cruel and excessive, and would serve no purpose. He said she has reformed herself and is now committed to helping other problem gamblers.