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NRA king faces scrutiny in civil trial over lavish spending

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Wayne LaPierre, the long-serving head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), has been accused of extravagant self-indulgence, stifling dissent, and providing perks to allies. The trial, initiated by the New York attorney general, delves into LaPierre’s leadership and spending practices during his decades-long tenure as the NRA’s executive vice president and CEO.

According to Assistant Attorney General Monica Connell, LaPierre, who recently announced his departure from the NRA, utilized the organization as “Wayne’s World,” directing over $11 million for private jet flights and approving $135 million in contracts benefiting a vendor who reciprocated with luxury perks and international trips. Connell also highlighted LaPierre’s consolidation of power, hiring compliant staff, doctoring invoices, and retaliating against those questioning his spending.

The trial exposes instances where the former CFO, Craig Spray, faced consequences for objecting to LaPierre’s practices, further emphasizing a culture of authoritarian rule within the NRA. Connell asserts that LaPierre concealed gifts from vendors until the NRA’s failed bankruptcy in 2021, breaching trust and violating laws governing nonprofit charities.

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit in 2020, alleging that LaPierre and other executives caused substantial financial losses through questionable expenditures. While the defense is set to present its opening statements, LaPierre is accused of securing a $17 million exit contract and misusing NRA funds for personal luxuries.

The trial’s outcome could result in restitution and a ban on the defendants holding leadership positions in charitable organizations operating in the state. As this legal drama unfolds, the NRA grapples with financial challenges, declining membership, and internal conflicts.

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