Peterson, who served in the Louisiana Legislature for more than 22 years, admitted in August to taking more than $140,000 in funds from her reelection campaign and from the state Democratic Party. The ex-lawmaker spent a “substantial amount” of that money on casino gambling, according to court documents.
Although the felony charge of federal wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance sentenced Peterson to significantly less, The Advocate reported.
“People trusted me and I breached that trust,” Peterson said in court, WDSU-TV reported.
At the sentencing, Peterson cried at the podium and repented for her criminal wrongdoing — apologizing to her constituents, family and friends.
Ahead of the sentencing, Peterson’s lawyers implored U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance to consider an alternative to prison — such as probation or home confinement.
They said her gambling addiction resulted in “diminished mental capacity,” which can qualify a defendant for a reduced sentence, according to court filings obtained by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. In addition, they pointed to her Christian faith, her acceptance of responsibility for the crimes and her participation in Gamblers Anonymous.