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Leaders Misspent Millions of NRA's Money, Jury Decides

Wayne LaPierre is found liable in New York lawsuit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2024 5:45 PM CST
Leaders Misspent Millions of NRA's Money, Jury Decides
CEO Wayne LaPierre addresses the National Rifle Association Convention in April 2023 in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

The National Rifle Association and its longtime leader were found liable Friday in a lawsuit centered on the organization's lavish spending. A New York jury found that Wayne LaPierre, who was the NRA's CEO for three decades, and others misspent millions of dollars of the group's money on perks for themselves. LaPierre, 74, sat stone-faced in the front row of the courtroom as the verdict was read aloud, the AP reports. The decision is a win for New York Attorney General Letitia James and the latest blow to the powerful group, which in recent years has been beset by financial troubles and dwindling membership.

Jurors ordered LaPierre, who announced his resignation on the eve of the trial, to pay $4,351,231 in restitution. NRA general counsel John Frazer and retired finance chief Wilson Phillips were also defendants in the case. Any penalties paid by LaPierre or others would go back to the NRA, which was portrayed in the case both as a defendant that lacked internal controls to prevent misspending and as a victim of that same misconduct. James also wants the three men barred from leadership positions at any charitable organizations that conduct business in New York. A judge will decide that question during the next phase of the state Supreme Court trial.

The trial cast a spotlight on the leadership, organizational culture, and finances of the powerful lobbying group. During the trial, state lawyers argued that LaPierre dodged financial disclosure requirements while treating the NRA as his personal piggy bank, dipping into its coffers for African safaris and other questionable expenditures. His lawyer cast the trial as a political witch hunt by James, per the AP. LaPierre billed the NRA more than $11 million for private jet flights and spent more than $500,000 on eight trips to the Bahamas over a three-year span, state lawyers said.

(More NRA stories.)

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