New York, NY – January 5, 2024
Wayne LaPierre, the long-standing leader of the “National Rifle Association (NRA),” announced his resignation on Friday, just days before the commencement of his civil trial in New York. The departure comes after over three decades at the helm of the influential gun rights organization.
LaPierre, who held the position of executive vice president within the NRA, clarified in a statement that health reasons motivated his decision, with the resignation set to take effect on January 31. Despite stepping down from his leadership role, LaPierre pledged unwavering support for the NRA’s mission to defend Second Amendment freedoms, asserting that his dedication to the cause remains resolute.
Fox News Digital, the first to report the resignation, highlighted the impending civil trial that LaPierre and three other current and former NRA leaders are set to face. The lawsuit, initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2020, alleges violations of nonprofit laws and the misuse of NRA funds to finance extravagant lifestyles.
The legal action accuses LaPierre of diverting millions of dollars from the NRA’s charitable endeavors to fund personal luxuries, including private jets, lavish meals, travel consultants, and trips to the Bahamas for himself and his family. The attorney general claims that over $500,000 of the NRA’s assets were utilized for flights to the Bahamas for LaPierre and his family. The lawsuit further contends that between 2015 and 2019, the NRA incurred expenses exceeding $1 million for private flights where LaPierre wasn’t a passenger.
The lawsuit alleges LaPierre received over $1.2 million in expense reimbursements from 2013 to 2017. The other offenders, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, John Frazer, and Joshua Powell, are also implicated in violating nonprofit laws and internal policies, contributing to the NRA’s reported loss of over $64 million in three years.
In a recent court filing, Powell, who is representing himself, indicated his intention to settle the case against him. The civil trial, scheduled to commence on Monday in Manhattan, is expected to span six weeks. A six-member jury will determine whether the defendants breached nonprofit laws. If found liable, the jury will recommend the monetary restitution each defendant must make to the NRA.
The trial’s second phase will involve State Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen deciding on potential additional remedies, such as barring the defendants from serving on charity boards in New York and appointing an independent monitor for the NRA’s finances. The attorney general seeks both remedies in a bid to address the alleged financial misconduct within the NRA leadership.
As Wayne LaPierre steps away from the NRA’s leadership, the unfolding trial promises to shed light on the allegations of financial impropriety that have cast a shadow over the organization’s reputation.