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Wayne LaPierre Found Guilty of Misusing NRA Funds, Ordered to Repay Millions

After a highly publicized trial, Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), was found guilty on Friday of misspending millions of dollars of the organization’s funds. A New York jury determined that LaPierre, 74, had utilized NRA money to finance a lavish lifestyle, including extravagant vacations and trips on private planes and superyachts.

The verdict stipulated that LaPierre must repay nearly $4.4 million to the NRA, the influential gun rights group he led for three decades. Additionally, the NRA’s retired finance chief, Wilson Phillips, was ordered to repay $2 million. The jury’s decision also highlighted the NRA’s failure to properly manage its assets, its submission of inaccurate information in tax filings, and its violation of whistleblower protections under New York law.

Throughout the trial, which commenced last month, the prosecution painted a picture of LaPierre as a leader who treated the NRA’s funds as his personal bank account. He was accused of billing the organization for extravagant expenses, including private jet flights and luxury vacations, without proper disclosure.

LaPierre, who had announced his resignation from the NRA on the eve of the trial, remained stoic as the verdict was read aloud in the courtroom. He refrained from speaking to reporters as he exited the premises.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who initiated the investigation into the NRA’s financial practices, hailed the verdict as a “major victory.” She emphasized the importance of holding powerful entities accountable for their actions, stating, “In New York, you cannot get away with corruption and greed, no matter how powerful or influential you think you may be.”

The trial shed light on the internal workings of the NRA, revealing allegations of financial misconduct and mismanagement. Despite the organization’s portrayal as both a victim and a defendant in the case, the jury ultimately held key figures accountable for their roles in the misuse of funds.

In response to the verdict, the NRA highlighted its efforts to address internal control issues and emphasized that certain individuals, including former vendors and insiders, had exploited the organization’s trust.

The next phase of the trial will determine additional penalties and oversight measures, including the potential appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the NRA’s administration of charitable assets.

Wayne LaPierre’s conviction marks a significant chapter in the NRA’s history, highlighting the challenges faced by one of the nation’s most powerful lobbying groups amidst financial turmoil and legal scrutiny. Despite its recent setbacks, the NRA remains a potent political force, continuing to exert influence on gun policy and electoral politics.