Former head of US gun rights group fined $4 million — RT World News

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National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre stepped down earlier this year after more than three decades at the helm

A Manhattan court has ordered former National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre to repay more than $4 million to the gun rights group, finding him liable in a civil corruption suit brought by the state of New York.

Friday’s verdict came on the heels of a six-week trial, during which LaPierre and other NRA leaders were accused of misusing the organization’s funds, ignoring whistleblower complaints, and providing false information on state tax filings.

Jurors found that the former CEO, who had led the NRA since the early 1990s and also served as executive vice president, had failed to perform proper oversight and regularly treated himself using group funds. According to state attorneys, this included $11 million for private jet flights and $500,000 for eight separate trips to the Bahamas over a three-year period. He was ordered to pay $4.4 million to the NRA to make up for the lavish spending, while ex-chief financial officer Wilson ‘Woody’ Phillips was fined $2 million.

LaPierre resigned last month after more than 30 years running the NRA, not long before the civil corruption trial kicked off. New York Attorney General Letitia James initially filed the case in 2020, and hailed the verdict as a “major victory.”

“In New York, you cannot get away with corruption and greed, no matter how powerful or influential you think you may be,” she wrote in a social media post. “Everyone, even the NRA and Wayne LaPierre, must play by the same rules.”

James’ office added that it would seek to appoint an independent monitor to review the NRA’s finances going forward, and to ban LaPierre from ever holding a leadership position with any charitable organization in New York.

In a statement of its own, the NRA maintained that it was “victimized by certain former vendors and ‘insiders’ who abused the trust placed in them,” and went on to acknowledge that LaPierre and other former leaders had “violated their statutory obligations to discharge the duties of their position in good faith and with care.”

In addition to ordering payouts to the NRA, the jury also found the group had violated state whistleblower protections, failed to properly manage its assets, and falsified New York tax documents by misrepresenting financial information. While jurors concluded that NRA general counsel John Frazer had also violated his duties, they chose not to fine him and found no cause for his removal.

Founded in 1871, the NRA is an influential lobbying group that runs campaigns in defense of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. It has more than 5 million members, according to the group’s website.

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