New York’s top law enforcement officer,
“LaPierre’s only goal is to cling to the power that his position holds,” Assistant Attorney General Monica Connell told the judge Monday during the first day of the trial, which is being held by video. James filed a lawsuit against LaPierre and the NRA in August after investigating alleged financial misdeeds by the organization’s top executives. The suit seeks to dissolve the NRA and redistribute its
NRA attorney Greg Garman defended LaPierre, calling his fundraising prowess irreplaceable. Throwing out the bankruptcy would wrongly expose the NRA to a politically motivated attack on the group’s First Amendment rights, Garman said. And replacing LaPierre would pose an immediate danger to the organization’s future, Garman told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
“A trustee is in fact a death sentence,” Garman said, because LaPierre raises $100 million annually for the 150-year-old organization.
Hale isn’t expected to rule until after the multiday trial ends. Testimony continues Tuesday. Both sides will focus on the results of James’s investigation, which concluded the NRA executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars away from the group’s charitable mission.
The NRA will acknowledge some lapses in financial oversight, Garman said. But those problems have all been resolved and the people mainly responsible have either left or been dismissed, he said.
Current and former top NRA officials are expected to testify about the decision to file for bankruptcy and LaPierre’s leadership. On Monday, a lawyer for New York questioned NRA First Vice President Charles Cotton about whether the 76-member board of directors knew they were giving LaPierre the power to put the organization into bankruptcy when the panel approved LaPierre’s new employment contract.
Cotton repeatedly said he didn’t know what other board members understood and he couldn’t remember what they discussed in a non-public meeting about the employment contract. LaPierre is on the list of NRA executives scheduled to testify in the coming days.
Another of those witnesses may be Phillip Journey, a family court judge in Wichita and member of the NRA’s board. Journey inserted himself into the group’s bankruptcy by
The filing came five months after James
The official committee of NRA unsecured creditors
The case is National Rifle Association of America,
(Updates with trial date in sixth paragraph, testimony from Monday evening in eighth paragraph.)
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