A Manhattan jury is set to hear New York Attorney General Letitia James’s case against the National Rifle Association, marking a potentially difficult moment for the organization even though it still wields sizeable influence in American life, The Trace reports. Three and a half years ago, James filed a lawsuit against the organization, saying the group’s top officials had used it as a “personal piggy bank.” The trial, which could lead to CEO Wayne LaPierre’s removal and additional oversight of the NRA, is likely to have two phases. In the first, the jury will determine whether individual defendants and the NRA are guilty. If so, the jury will also rule on how much money the defendants must repay to the organization.
In addition to LaPierre, the defendants include NRA general counsel John Frazer, former treasurer and CFO Wilson Phillips, former general operations director Joshua Powell, and the NRA itself. James alleges that the defendants spent NRA money on luxury trips, cushy insider contracts, private jet travel, and fancy suits for LaPierre. The key allegation against the NRA is its failure to handle charitable assets responsibly. The organization is also alleged to have “harassed and retaliated” against whistleblowers. The group is also alleged to have made false regulatory filings.