Jury returns verdict in Wayne LaPierre, NRA corruption civil case

A Manhattan jury has returned a verdict in a civil case accusing the NRA and its longtime head Wayne LaPierre of corruption.

The lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2020, named LaPierre and the gun rights organization, along with other NRA leaders John Frazer and Wilson “Woody” Phillips. Attorneys for the Attorney General’s office alleged misuse of financial resources and claimed NRA leaders ignored whistleblowers and included false information on state filings.

Testimony in the six-week civil trial detailed LaPierre’s lavish spending on perks such as chartered private flights and acceptance of expensive gifts. Jurors reached their verdict after five days of deliberation.

Five of the six jurors had to agree on each of the 10 questions. The jury found that the NRA failed to properly administer the organization and its assets and that LaPierre, Phillips and Frazer failed to perform their duties.

The jury also said that the NRA failed to adopt a whistleblower policy that complied with state law and failed to act on whistleblower complaints and filed state-required reports with false and misleading information.

LaPierre, 74, resigned his position as CEO and executive vice president and stepped down from the organization last month after more than three decades at its helm.

The Attorney General’s Office had asked the individual defendants be made to repay the NRA and be barred from returning to leadership positions there and from working for nonprofits in the state.

A fourth named defendant, Joshua Powell, the former chief of staff and executive director of operations, earlier settled with James’ office, agreeing to repay $100,000 and not work in nonprofits as well as to testify in the trial.

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James had initially sought to dissolve the NRA, a move blocked by a judge who ruled the rest of the suit could proceed.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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