Wayne LaPierre stepped down from his position as the head of the National Rifle Association on Friday, bringing an end to his lengthy leadership of the influential gun rights organization. This occurred just days before the commencement of his civil trial in New York.
Upon revealing his resignation, LaPierre, who served as the executive vice president of the NRA, expressed his longstanding affiliation with the organization, highlighting his decades as a card-carrying member. He emphasized his unwavering commitment to supporting the NRA and its ongoing efforts to safeguard the freedom outlined in the Second Amendment.
Fox News Digital, the initial source of this resignation report, indicated that the 74-year-old attributed his departure to health considerations. The resignation is slated to become effective on January 31, marking the conclusion of his more than three-decade-long tenure at the helm of the National Rifle Association.
LaPierre, along with three present and past leaders of the National Rifle Association, is actively defending against a legal action initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2020. The lawsuit contends that they breached nonprofit regulations and improperly utilized millions of dollars from NRA funds to support extravagant lifestyles for their own benefit.
“I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.” –Wayne@EmmColt/@FoxNews https://t.co/wC7D9tF6vw pic.twitter.com/bEvDBmhy7W
— NRA (@NRA) January 5, 2024
On Friday afternoon, as jury selection was drawing to a close, LaPierre declared his resignation. New York Attorney General Letitia James hailed his departure as a significant triumph.
The legal complaint contends that LaPierre redirected millions of dollars from the organization’s charitable endeavors to fund his personal expenses, including private jets, extravagant meals, travel consultants, private security, and trips to the Bahamas for both himself and his family.
According to the lawsuit, the attorney general asserts that LaPierre utilized over $500,000 of the NRA’s funds to transport himself and his family to the Bahamas. Additionally, from May 2015 to April 2019, the NRA accrued expenses exceeding $1 million for private flights where LaPierre was not a passenger.
According to the lawsuit, LaPierre is claimed to have received expense reimbursements exceeding $1.2 million from 2013 to 2017. The legal action further alleges that the other defendants similarly violated nonprofit laws and internal policies, benefiting personally and thereby contributing to the NRA’s loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.
The individuals in question include Wilson “Woody” Phillips, a former NRA treasurer and chief financial officer, Joshua Powell, a former chief of staff and executive director of general operations, and John Frazer, the corporate secretary and general counsel.
In a recent court filing, Powell, who is representing himself, conveyed his effort to reach a settlement in the case against him. The attorney general’s office refrained from providing comments on Powell’s situation.
A panel of six jury members will be responsible for assessing whether the defendants breached nonprofit laws. Should the jurors find the defendants accountable, they will suggest the specific amount that each individual would need to reimburse the NRA.
In such a scenario, the ultimate decision on monetary damages and corrective measures, such as potential permanent exclusion of the defendants from any charity board in New York and the appointment of an independent monitor for the NRA’s finances, would rest with state Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen. The attorney general is pursuing both remedies, with Cohen slated to make determinations in a subsequent phase of the trial.