Starting on Monday, April 6, the NRA will face a six-day trial, marking the first time NRA executives — including NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and others — will be examined and cross-examined in open court relating to the financial scandals that have engulfed the organization over the past two years.
The NRA’s financial mismanagement, allegations of self-dealing, and extravagant spending are core issues in the trial, which could have seismic consequences for the NRA and LaPierre himself.
The trial was initially slated to begin March 29, but the Court granted a week extension to facilitate the close of discovery and the possibility of settlement discussions. Testimony is expected to last from April 5 – 8, with the trial resuming for two additional days on April 13 and April 16. The Judge has indicated he expects to issue a written ruling, approximately a week after the close of the trial. Hearing dates, times, and WebEx links to watch the proceedings can be found at Judge Hale’s webpage.
Important things to know headed into next week’s trial:
- The trial marks the first time many NRA executives will testify in open court. Possible witnesses could include NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, former NRA Chief of Staff Josh Powell, NRA General Counsel John Frazer (who recently told the Court he wasn’t made aware of the NRA’s Chapter 11 filing until the day of the bankruptcy), and NRA Chief Financial Officer Wilson Phillips (who took the 5th Amendment so as “to not criminally implicate himself” at a recent deposition).
- The six day-trial will decide the future of the NRA and potentially LaPierre, himself. The Court will decide whether to dismiss the NRA’s bankruptcy for being filed in bad faith, appoint an independent examiner to investigate fraud and mismanagement at the NRA, or appoint a trustee to run the NRA during the course of its bankruptcy (sidelining LaPierre). Every possible outcome leaves the NRA weak and in deep trouble.
- The NRA’s bankruptcy filing should be seen for what it is: an attempt by an organization already losing power and hemorrhaging money to escape legal responsibility from the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit, for alleged fraud and lining the pockets of its top executives. Even NRA board members admit this openly.
- The bankruptcy thus far has been an outright disaster for the NRA, revealing more infighting and extravagant spending, and draining the organization of cash. Some lowlights include:
- The IRS has come forward as one of the NRA’s largest creditors, detailing over $3.4 million in back taxes owed (filing here).
- Detailed financial filings associated with the bankruptcy have revealed more bloated spending, including that the NRA has a fleet of more than 70 vehicles. Other filings have detailed that the NRA paid for mosquito control treatments at Wayne LaPierre’s home, labeling them for “security purposes.”
- The U.S. Trustee, the bankruptcy monitor for the Department of Justice, came forward to allege conflicts of interest with the NRA’s counsel Bill Brewer (filing here).
- Current NRA board members Phil Journey, a Kansas Judge, Buz Mills, and Rocky Marshall, as well as former board member Esther Schneider, have asked the bankruptcy court to install an independent examiner to investigate alleged fraud (filing here).
- NRA litigation adversaries Ackerman McQueen and NRA donor David Dell’Aquila were appointed to the five member Creditors Committee, a body given significant say in the NRA’s reorganization (filing here).
For further, detailed information about the NRA and the consequences of next week’s trial, please email [email protected]. Everytown has also chronicled court filings and news articles about the various NRA scandals at www.nrawatch.org. A specific page dedicated to filings in the bankruptcy can be found at https://nrawatch.org/case/nra-bankruptcy-proceedings/.