An attempt by the head of the National Rifle Association to wriggle out of a lawsuit — one that could put an end to the organization itself — has been rebuffed by a bankruptcy judge in Dallas.
NRA head Wayne LaPierre filed for bankruptcy protection after the NRA was sued by the New York Attorney General's office for fraud and abuse. The lawsuit accuses the NRA of misusing charitable funds to the tune of millions of dollars.
LaPierre tried to reincorporate the group in Texas, which he deemed more "gun-friendly" than New York.
Filed in August 2020, the NY Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that LaPierre spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of NRA funds on personal indulgences, including private plane trips for himself and his family, and seeks to dissolve the organization.
For more than two weeks, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Harlin "Cooter" Hale listened to testimony from witnesses such as the NRA's former ad agency, Ackerman McQueen Inc., who claimed the bankruptcy filing was made in bad faith and should be dismissed.
The judge could have allowed the NRA's bankruptcy case go forward, which would protect them from the lawsuit; or he could have assigned a trustee to oversee the group's financial dealings.
Instead, he threw the NRA out of bankruptcy court altogether, agreeing with the NYAG's office that the case was filed in bad faith.
According to NNY360.com, testimony in the case has been "vivid," with revelations such as a top NRA official who destroyed notes fearing they might become legal evidence, and an admission by LaPierre that he received vendor favors and kept secrets from the NRA board, chief financial officer, and general counsel.
One NRA board member, Phillip Journey, described the NRA as a "kingdom" with LaPierre as king, and testified he knew nothing about LaPierre's decision to put the NRA into bankruptcy until after it happened.