NRA found guilty of corruption and fraud in New York trial

NRA found guilty of corruption and fraud in New York trial

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby group, has been found guilty of corruption and fraud in a civil trial in New York. The jury awarded the state $200 million in damages, which could force the NRA to dissolve or restructure.

The trial, which lasted six weeks, exposed the lavish spending and self-dealing of the NRA’s former leaders, especially its ex-president Wayne LaPierre, who resigned days before the trial began. The state’s lawyers argued that LaPierre and his associates used the NRA’s funds as their personal piggy bank, spending millions on private jets, luxury vacations, expensive suits, and other perks.

 

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The state also accused the NRA of violating its tax-exempt status, failing to comply with state laws, and misleading its donors and members about its financial health. The state sought to dissolve the NRA or appoint a monitor to oversee its operations.

Wayne LaPierre, the former CEO of the National Rifle Association, is seen during a hearing at the New York State Supreme Court on February 23.
The NRA denied the allegations and claimed that the trial was a politically motivated attack by the state’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James. The NRA also argued that it had taken steps to reform its governance and management, and that it was still a vital advocate for gun rights and safety.

The jury, however, sided with the state and delivered a unanimous verdict after less than a day of deliberations. The jury found the NRA guilty of 18 counts of corruption and fraud, and awarded the state $200 million in damages, which is the amount the state estimated the NRA had wasted or misused.

The verdict is a major blow to the NRA, which has been facing legal, financial, and internal troubles for years. The NRA filed for bankruptcy in January 2024, in an attempt to escape the New York trial and relocate to Texas. But a federal judge rejected the bankruptcy bid in May 2024, ruling that it was filed in bad faith.

The verdict could also have significant implications for the gun rights movement and the political landscape in the US. The NRA has been one of the most influential and controversial groups in American politics, spending millions to lobby lawmakers, support candidates, and mobilize voters. The verdict could weaken the NRA’s clout and open the door for more gun control measures.

The state’s attorney general, James, hailed the verdict as a historic victory for justice and accountability. She said that the verdict sent a clear message that no one is above the law, not even the most powerful special interest group in the country.

 

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The NRA’s lawyers said that they were disappointed by the verdict and that they would appeal. They said that the verdict was based on a flawed and biased trial, and that they were confident that they would prevail in the higher courts. They also said that the verdict would not affect the NRA’s mission and operations, and that the NRA would continue to fight for the rights of its members and all Americans.

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Source : AP NEWS

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