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State Senator Karen Carter Peterson is ‘fully cooperating’ with federal criminal investigation, attorney says | Local policy

According to Peterson’s attorney, Brian Capitelli, former state senator Karen Carter Peterson is “fully cooperating” with a federal investigation targeting her.

Capitelli, a former federal prosecutor, said the investigation focused on Peterson’s finances and related to his gambling addiction, confirming a recent Times-Picayune report. Peterson abruptly resigned from the Senate on Friday after serving in the Legislative Assembly for 22 years, saying she needed time off to deal with depression and her gambling problem.

Peterson has so far declined to answer questions about the probe. Capitelli’s remarks represent his first acknowledgment of the federal investigation. He declined to provide specific details of the allegations authorities are investigating.

The investigation is being conducted by prosecutors from the Eastern District of Louisiana who specialize in public corruption cases.

Peterson’s gambling problem became public knowledge in 2019 after he received a subpoena for visiting L’Auberge, a Baton Rouge casino. Peterson had put herself on a list, maintained by the Louisiana State Police, of people who voluntarily refrain from entering casinos because they suffer from a gambling addiction.

WWL-TV reported in 2019 that Peterson violated the self-imposed ban, leading Peterson to go public with his addiction.

The news also sparked controversy in part because, as a member of Senate Judiciary Committee B, Peterson had been closely involved in a number of gambling-related bills the previous year. These included bills on sports betting, moving casinos to land, easing restrictions on video poker establishments and legalizing mobile fantasy sports games.

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Peterson also served as the point of contact on an unsuccessful 2018 bill to secure the lease held by Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans for an additional 30 years.

In addition to Peterson’s long tenure in the Legislative Assembly, she served as the state’s Democratic Party chairman from 2012 to 2020, a position that earned her a salary of $36,000 in 2019 and $24,000 in 2020. .

Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation said federal authorities are also investigating whether the party’s money was misspent during her tenure as president.

Peterson’s most recent financial disclosure form, filed as she ran for Congress last year, shows she had income of up to $513,772 in 2020. About two-thirds of that came from a political consulting firm called College Hill Strategy Group LLC, with the rest coming from her Senate salary, her salary as a party president, and her salary working the law firm Dentons.

During her run for Congress, Peterson said she left Dentons, who paid her about $109,000 in 2020. She has yet to file a disclosure form for 2021; these forms are due next month.

In addition to his earned income, Peterson has raised significant sums to support his various candidacies. She’s raised more than $1.1 million for her 2021 congressional run, for example.

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