In some leftovers from the weekend — don’t you turn up your nose like that, it’s still perfectly edible! — National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre resigned Friday, prior to the start of his civil fraud trial in New York Monday. He also stepped down as “executive vice-president,” the weirdest title ever for a guy who since 1991 has largely led the NRA.
During his over-30-year tenure, tens of thousands of Americans died in gun violence every year, with a significant increase in fatalities in the last decade. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in America, so you might want to keep that in mind as you read Mr. LaPierre’s resignation statement, released through the NRA:
“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” says Wayne LaPierre. “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.”
More guns, more death, more violence, year after year. It’s a remarkable career of achievements. Oh yes, and while he and his former organization go on trial this week for all the fraud during his tenure, CNN notes that LaPierre “cited health reasons” for his resignation, and everyone believed that.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in 2020 aimed at dissolving the NRA for breaking New York laws on what nonprofits can do, like not frauding, arguing that LaPierre and other NRA honchos had “exploited the organization for his financial benefit,” and misusing members’ dues for lavish living and to amass power for himself and his cronies. LaPierre tried to avoid the lawsuit by moving the NRA to Texas and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but haha, that failed too.
The trial got underway Monday, with state attorney Monica Connell laying out the case against LaPierre and his fellow defendants, saying,
NRA officials failed to obtain board approval for conflicts of interest and insider transactions, arranged no-show contracts for associates, and retaliated against whistleblowers who suspected wrongdoing.
“The NRA allowed Wayne LaPierre and his group of insiders … to operate the NRA as ‘Wayne’s World’ for decades,” said Connell, alluding to the 1992 movie starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. “Wayne LaPierre and his friends effectively suppressed the voice of anyone who challenged his leadership.”
It’s nice of Reuters to explain the reference like that for readers. Nice isn’t even the word — it’s party time, it’s excellent. The NRA’s defense are expected to argue NO WAY, and then James’s prosecutors will go WAY, and the NRA lawyers will argue that the prosecution is entirely political, and that the group has instituted reforms, so everything’s fine now, and then monkeys will fly outta LaPierre’s butt.
In fact, the NRA shouldn’t even be on trial, because it was the victim of that LaPierre guy, who got coffee for the group now and then. Rogers argued that “The NRA is not this man,” and said LaPierre
has been a “valuable and visionary leader” of the organization but was “not always a meticulous corporate executive.”
She admitted to the Manhattan jury that “some past violations” by “numerous wrongdoers” were concealed from and unapproved by the NRA board, but that the organization was not “willfully blind to red flags.”
“The only question, or at least one question, is why the NRA, the victim of that betrayal, is a defendant in this case,” the attorney said.
Furthermore, having shot its parents, the NRA should be given leniency because it’s an orphan, and didn’t you see that it lost $64 million in just three years because of LaPierre and the other two defendants, former treasurer/CFO Wilson “Woody” Phillips, and corporate secretary and general counsel John Frazer? Let’s keep the real victims in mind here.
Each of the individual defendants’ attorneys also gave an opening statement, mostly explaining they were good lads who meant well and did their jobs.
Also, as NBC News reports,
LaPierre’s attorney, P. Kent Correll, urged the jurors to set aside any misconceptions that they may have about the longtime NRA chief and said the plaintiffs want to “paint him as a person that’s not him.”
Correll said LaPierre served his job “well and honorably and honestly” for decades “until his health made it impossible for him to continue.”
I think we all can agree that fittings for designer suits and multiple chartered jet flights to the Bahamas can be quite stressful and take a toll on a fella. The Washington Post reports that Correll explained to the jury why LaPierre was willing to face the ordeal of luxury travel to a tropical resort, again and again. Message: He cared.
LaPierre spent more than $500,000 on charter flights to the Bahamas eight times in three years to attend annual gatherings hosted by his wealthy friend, film producer David McKenzie, Correll said. There were influential people there and networking with them was beneficial to the NRA, he said.
LaPierre receives “a lot of death threats” and was instructed to fly only on private aircraft, Correll said. LaPierre’s costly clothes also had true business purposes, the attorney said.
The Post didn’t go into that one, but it seems only obvious that pricier clothing — more than half a million dollars in pricier clothing! — simply brings in more donations for the NRA. If it’s OK for televangelists, then why not for the leader of the True Republican Church of the Second Amendment, huh?
In conclusion, Wayne LaPierre is out of a job and is being tried for massive fraud, and that’s why we at Wonkette offer him our thoughts and prayers, the end.
Report: NRA Bleeding Funds, Members Like … Like … Gosh, What’s Something That’s Rapidly Bleeding Out?
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