April 24th, 2024

National Rifle Association and Wayne LaPierre are found liable in lawsuit over lavish spending

By Jake Offenhartz, The Associated Press on February 23, 2024.

Wayne LaPierre, center, CEO of the National Rifle Association, leaves the courthouse as a jury continues deliberations during a trial at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) – The National Rifle Association and its former longtime leader were found liable Friday in a lawsuit centered on the organization’s lavish spending.

The New York jury found that Wayne LaPierre, who was the NRA’s CEO for three decades, misspent millions of dollars of the group’s money on pricey perks for themselves.

The verdict is a win for New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who campaigned on investigating the NRA’s not-for-profit status. It is the latest blow to the powerful group, which in recent years has been beset by financial troubles and dwindling membership. LaPierre, its longtime face, announced his resignation on the eve of the trial.

Jurors ordered LaPierre 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 banned from serving in 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.

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Associated Press writer Philip Marcelo contributed to this report.

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