Wayne LaPierre did not quit as NRA CEO because he’d struck a plea deal in NYC corruption trial, prosecutors say – with his spokesman Andrew Arulanandam named as his interim successor

Second Amendment


The shock resignation of the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday was not prompted by any plea deal ahead of his corruption trial next week, prosecutors have confirmed.

Wayne LaPierre, 74, said he was stepping down after more than 30 years due to ‘health reasons’.

LaPierre’s corruption trial has already begun with jury selection: opening statements will be heard next week. 

But New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, said that no plea deal with LaPierre had been reached, and the corruption trial will proceed as planned.

LaPierre and two other defendants are accused of violating nonprofit laws and using millions of dollars from the NRA to pay for extravagant lifestyles for themselves. 

James is seeking to bar LaPierre from leadership roles, and intends on pushing for financial penalties from him and two other defendants. 

A fourth defendant, Joshua Powell, a former top deputy to LaPierre, on Friday night reached a settlement with the attorney general’s office. He agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution and to a permanent ban from serving as an officer at nonprofits operating in New York. 

LaPierre’s interim successor will be his spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA’s executive and head of general operations.

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation on Friday just days before his New York corruption trial is due to begin

Andrew Arulanandam

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre (left) announced his resignation on Friday – just days before his New York corruption trial is due to begin. Andrew Arulanandam (right), his spokesman, will take over as interim CEO

The NRA chief cited health reasons for his resignation which was accepted at a board meeting in Irving, Texas

The NRA chief cited health reasons for his resignation which was accepted at a board meeting in Irving, Texas

LaPierre, pictured at an NRA rally in 2022 with Donald Trump, is accused of diverting millions of dollars to pay for his lavish lifestyle

LaPierre, pictured at an NRA rally in 2022 with Donald Trump, is accused of diverting millions of dollars to pay for his lavish lifestyle

LaPierre, who made the surprise announcement during a board meeting in Irving, Texas, officially stands down on January 31. 

‘With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,’ LaPierre said in press release. 

‘I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.’ 

NRA President Charles Cotton thanked LaPierre for his service.

‘On behalf of the NRA Board of Directors, I thank Wayne LaPierre for his service. Wayne has done as much to protect Second Amendment freedom as anyone,’ Cotton said. 

‘Wayne is a towering figure in the fight for constitutional freedom, but one of his other talents is equally important: he built an organization that is bigger than him.

‘Under the direction of Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA will continue to thrive – with a renewed energy in our business operations and grassroots advocacy. Our future is bright and secure.’ 

The NRA has for years been in inner turmoil. 

Prior to her election, James vowed to take on the NRA, which she branded a ‘terrorist organization’.

She brought a lawsuit in 2020 accusing NRA chiefs of violating state and federal law and lining their pockets with millions of dollars.

LaPierre was reelected to his position in 2021 despite the ongoing civil case which claims he diverted millions to pay for trips and other lavish items.

The NRA board of directors reelected Wayne LaPierre as CEO of the group in 2021, despite multiple controversies facing the organization under his leadership

The NRA board of directors reelected Wayne LaPierre as CEO of the group in 2021, despite multiple controversies facing the organization under his leadership 

The NRA is still facing a corruption lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, (pictured) alleging its leadership diverted millions to fund a lavish lifestyle

The NRA is still facing a corruption lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, (pictured) alleging its leadership diverted millions to fund a lavish lifestyle 

In May 2021, the group made a failed bid to file for bankruptcy to move its organization from New York to Texas, which LaPierre admitted was to avoid the litigation.

But it was denied by federal judge Harlin Hale who argued that it had been filed in bad faith, and slammed LaPierre’s conduct as ‘nothing less than shocking’. 

The gun rights group unsuccessfully attempted to stop the corruption probe from proceeding by arguing James, a Democrat, is politically motivated and has violated the First Amendment for trying to silence its speech because she disliked what it stood for.

But the appeal was unanimously rejected.

The NRA said it was ‘well-known’ that James had pledged to pursue the organization.

In March 2022, the group scored a major legal victory, when a New York court dismissed James’ claims to dissolve the organization. 

‘With respect to the NYAG’s allegations, the NRA Board of Directors reports it has undertaken significant efforts to perform a self-evaluation, recommended termination of disgraced ‘insiders’ and vendors who allegedly abused the Association, and accepted reimbursement, with interest, for alleged excess benefit transactions from LaPierre, as reported in public tax filing,’ an NRA statement said.

LaPierre, pictured with wife Susan, claims the lawsuit from James is politically motivated after she vowed to go after the NRA prior to her appointment as Attorney General

LaPierre, pictured with wife Susan, claims the lawsuit from James is politically motivated after she vowed to go after the NRA prior to her appointment as Attorney General

LaPierre is pictured in 2012 with his wife Susan; the late Larry King, and his wife Shawn

LaPierre is pictured in 2012 with his wife Susan; the late Larry King, and his wife Shawn

LaPierre, in his statement on Friday, added: ‘I am proud of the NRA’s advocacy in New York and, through it all, determination to defend the Second Amendment. I can assure you the NRA’s mission, programming, and fight for freedom have never been more secure. 

‘What makes the NRA unlike any other advocacy organization is the depth and experience of its professional team, the unwavering support of its members, and its fighting spirit.’

‘I have enormous confidence in our board of directors, executive leadership team, and my long-time colleague Andrew Arulanandam. 

‘Andrew knows every facet of this organization and has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in every arena imaginable. Andrew knows how to help the NRA win – he’s been one of the key authors of our playbook for decades.’



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