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NRA civil corruption trial set to start today in Manhattan

Attorney General Letitia James’s long-awaited civil corruption trial against the National Rifle Association is set to start this morning in a Manhattan courtroom.

The case stems from a lawsuit James filed against the hulking gun rights nonprofit back in 2020, accusing the organization of misappropriating millions of dollars to pay its leaders’ personal expenses– including private jets, expensive meals, and family trips to the Bahamas.

An NYPD spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about added security or expected traffic disruptions around the courthouse.

“The NRA, as a New York-registered not-for-profit, charitable corporation, has legal obligations to use its funds for charitable purposes, not to support the lavish lifestyles of senior management and organization insiders,” the Attorney General’s office wrote in a statement Friday, adding that the organization “blatantly disregarded” New York state and federal laws as well as its own internal policies.

Chartered in New York since 1871, the NRA was initially founded by Civil War Union Army veterans to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.”

Nearly 150 years later, James filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the organization– which has since amassed tremendous power and influence as the voice of second amendment rights across the country– over the alleged conduct of its senior management.

A flurry of legal activity followed, with the NRA seeking multiple times to dismiss James’ complaint and change the court venue. In 2021, the organization filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and attempted to re-establish itself in Texas. A year later, Supreme Court judge Joel Cohen struck down James’ attempt to dissolve the organization, but held that she had a right to move forward to prosecute the fraud charges.

A final effort to delay the trial was struck down by judge Cohen last week.

On Friday, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation, after leading the organization as a staunch gun rights advocate for more than three decades.

LaPierre cited “health reasons” as the cause of his departure.

In a press release about LaPierre’s departure, the NRA said the board has taken “ significant efforts to perform a self-evaluation,” terminating “disgraced ‘insiders’” and others who allegedly accepted the excessive transactions.

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