A longtime Louisiana Democrat lawmaker stepped down last week amid a federal financial investigation into her 20-year gambling addiction.
Karen Carter Peterson, 52, made her abrupt resignation public on Friday, citing her need to focus on a decades-long battle with depression and chronic gambling.
‘I must place all of my energy on my mental health and personal well-being, and therefore have tendered my resignation effective immediately,’ Peterson said in a statement.
The former state senator is also the subject of a federal probe, sources told The New Orleans Advocate.
While officials declined to divulge details about the investigation, they confirmed to the outlet that her finances and gambling addiction, first made public in 2019, will be the focus.
The Louisiana Democratic Party chapter declined to comment on whether the party has received a subpoena or has been asked by federal authorities to hand in information about Peterson.
The state senate has not been subpoenaed, President Page Cortez confirmed.
Peterson, who has received both inpatient and outpatient treatment for her gambling, was elected to the State House in 1999 and then to the Senate in 2010.
Her term was set to end next year at the end of the legislative session in June. Peterson’s seat will be replaced this fall.
Peterson’s gambling issues first became public in February 2019 when local news station WWL-TV reported she had received a misdemeanor summons after gambling at L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge.
The former state senator hinted at her resignation on Thursday as she led prayer from the Senate dais.
‘Over the last few years I’ve participated in successfully and received in-patient and outpatient treatment,’ Peterson said.
‘I want you to know that this addiction and this disease is insidious, many people suffer from it. The highest rate of suicide from all addictions.’
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