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NRA Verdict: Guilty. What Next?



The jury deliberated for five days, and on Friday evening, rendered its verdict: Guilty.

Well, not exactly. This wasn’t a criminal trial … although there may be a couple of those coming down the pike for Wayne LaPierre and Woody Phillips, the longtime Executive Vice President of the NRA and his trusty CFO. What the six-person jury found was that Wayne, Woody, and the NRA were liable for the gross mismanagement of funds totaling in the tens of millions. The jury ordered Wayne and Woody to pony up a total of $6.4 million dollars to be returned to the NRA coffers.

What’s fun about that number is that it’s divided roughly 60/40. Wayne was found to have misappropriated 5.4 million, but to have already returned 1.5 million to the NRA, leaving him with 4.4 mil to repay. Woody was only told to repay $2 million, despite the fact that NY AG Letitia James was able to prove that he arranged for his girlfriend to receive 1.36 million via a no-show, no-work contract with the NRA. It seems unlikely to this writer that the graft ended with that contract.

Furthermore, that $6.4 million number is off. WAY off. Off by a factor of 10. The NRA wasted $64 million over three years alone. By contrast, the organization spent roughly $30 million helping to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

So what happens now?

As far as Wayne and Woody go, it’s hard to say whether there will be any additional, criminal prosecution coming to them in the future. This was a civil trial, and the standards of proof are lower for civil trials than for criminal ones.

That said, Woody Phillips invoked the Fifth Amendment so often that the trial transcript of his testimony is almost unreadable. Invoking the Fifth is a protected American right and it doesn’t mean the person committed a crime … but, boy there does appear to be quite a mountain of evidence of criminal activity, doesn’t it? But that’s just two men. What happens to the 152-year-old organization, to America’s oldest and largest civil-rights watchdog?

Well, the NRA as an organization was also on the list of named defendants. Wayne LaPierre, its longtime CEO, stepped down on the eve of the trial (literally!) in what appears to be an attempt to distance the NRA from him. (This writer observes that the tactic might have been effective had it happened, oh, three years ago, when the organization declared bankruptcy.) The tactic–if that’s what it was–failed. The NRA was also found liable for what its leadership and its Board of Directors had done.

Now, there will be a bench trial. The good folks at NRA In Danger believe that it’s almost certain the the judge will order a court-appointed monitor for the NRA. Whether that will happen, whether the monitor will be an honorable, fair-minded person who will try to give the organization a better standing or not …? Well, that also remains to be seen. What you need to know is that the bench trial is unlikely to conclude before July. The 2024 elections will conclude in November. No sugar-coating it: This is terrible news for the Second Amendment community.

And if you have any questions about whether or not a court-appointed monitor might be better than what the NRA is doing right now, another quote from that linked NRA In Danger article above:

NRA “leadership” has issued a press release claiming victory! “Decision Validates NRA’s Position Regarding Wrongdoing by Certain Vendors and Insiders.” Certain vendors = people we bankrolled for 20 years, and have no intention of getting the money back. “Insiders” = LaPierre, who we defended for four years, and purged everyone (a president, a first VP, head of ILA, a dozen or so directors) who dared ask for him to be investigated.

Keep an eye on this space. We’re keeping an eye on theirs.



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