New York jury finds NRA executives liable for $6.35M for corruption

Gun Rights

The New York Attorney General’s Office announced Friday that a jury found current and former National Rifle Association (NRA) executives liable for corruption and financial misconduct.

After a six-week trial, the jury found that NRA executives Wayne LaPierre and Wilson “Woody” Phillips used NRA funds for personal gain. The jury also found that these individuals failed to administer charitable funds properly. As a result of the verdict, LaPierre has to pay $4.35 million, and Phillips has to pay $2 million.

In response to the jury verdict, New York Attorney General Letitia James stated:

This verdict is a major victory for the people of New York and our efforts to stop the corruption and greed at the NRA. For years, Wayne LaPierre used charitable dollars to fund his lavish lifestyle, spending millions on luxury travel, expensive clothes, insider contracts, and other perks for himself and his family. LaPierre and senior leaders at the NRA blatantly abused their positions and broke the law. But today, after years of rampant corruption and self-dealing, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are finally being held accountable.

Additionally, in response to the verdict, the NRA released a statement that it has maintained good governance policies but has been taken advantage of by a few top executives. The NRA also claims that it “effectively demonstrated” that the lawsuit was motivated by political animus. NRA President Charles Cotton thanked the jury for its service and stated:

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We appreciate the service of the jury and the opportunity to present evidence about the positive direction of the NRA today. NRA members should be heartened by the NRA’s commitment to best practices, and we will continue to amplify our compliance record in the pivotal next phase of these proceedings. To the extent there were control violations, they were acted upon immediately by the NRA Board beginning in summer 2018.

A non-jury trial will now be held to award non-monetary relief to the state against the NRA. This possible relief includes appointing an independent compliance monitor, permanently barring LaPierre and Phillips from getting elected to leadership positions within the NRA and barring the NRA from seeking charitable contributions in New York.

James sued the NRA in 2020 with the initial goal of shutting down the entire organization for fraud. After the lawsuit, in 2021, the NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reincorporated in Texas. However, a federal bankruptcy judge dismissed the bankruptcy filing for not being in “good faith.” The NRA attempted to dismiss the lawsuit multiple times, but New York courts rejected these attempts.

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