NRA Leader Wayne LaPierre Accused of Spending Millions on International Travel, Perks in N.Y.C. Corruption Trial

LaPierre announced his resignation from the National Rifle Association on Friday, and appeared in court on Monday

<p>Michael M. Santiago/Getty</p> Former NRA Leader Wayne LaPierre arrives for his  civil trial at New York State Supreme Court on January 08, 2024 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty

Former NRA Leader Wayne LaPierre arrives for his civil trial at New York State Supreme Court on January 08, 2024 in New York City.

Days after announcing his retirement as leader of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre is facing some big questions in court.

LaPierre and other former NRA leaders are facing a lawsuit that alleges that they used millions of dollars of the organization’s funding for their own personal use, NBC News reported. On Monday — just three days after announcing he’s stepping down as chief executive since taking over in 1991 — he appeared in court for the first time.

The prosecution accused LaPierre of operating as the “King of the NRA” and spending extravagant amounts of the nonprofit’s funding on himself, including international trips and favors for friends, according to the Associated Press.

He led the organization as if it was “Wayne’s World for decades,” New York State Attorney General’s office attorney Monica Connell reportedly said in court, per the outlets.

Among the expenses that LaPierre charged the NRA that Connell shared with the court on Monday was a total of over $11 million in private jet flights, per the AP. The lawsuit claims that on one trip alone, he reportedly spent over $500,000 to fly himself and his family to the Bahamas — all on the NRA’s dime, according to NBC News.

Related: The U.S. Lawmakers Who Have Received the Most Funding from the NRA

The outlet also reported that, according to the lawsuit, over a four-year period, he spent more than $1 million on private flights for other people. Connell told the jury that LaPierre’s spending allowed them all to travel ”all over the world for free.”

Another allegation brought up in court was that LaPierre approved $135 million in NRA contracts in exchange for multiple trips on a 33-meter yacht in international hotspots, including Greece and Dubai, the AP reported.

Part of how he managed to keep up the “lavish” spending habits without getting caught was by hiring unqualified candidates to ensure there weren’t checks and balances on his behavior, the prosecutor asserted, per the AP.

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In a statement announcing his resignation, LaPierre said, “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.”

He cited health reasons as the underlying cause of the decision.

In the same announcement, the NRA also shared their perspective on the ongoing lawsuit, claiming its Board of Directors “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 filings.”

Of the lawsuit, LaPierre said, “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.”

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