New York Daily News

NRA chief shown as wimp and grifter in Texas trial

- BY STEPHEN REX BROWN

A Texas bankruptcy judge heard closing arguments Monday in a trial that could determine whether the NRA continues to exist.

Judge Harlin Hale has said he will rule within a week on whether to allow the NRA’s audacious bankruptcy filing in the Lone Star State to proceed.

The NRA openly admits it filed for bankruptcy in Dallas to dodge a lawsuit filed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James alleging the advocacy group misused millions of its members’ money.

“This case was filed with the utmost bad faith,” Assistant Attorney General Gerrit Pronske said.

The 11-day virtual trial revealed “incompeten­ce and gross mismanagem­ent” at the highest levels of the once-powerful gun rights group, Pronske added.

James seeks the dissolutio­n of the NRA for violating state nonprofit laws.

Hale has heard extensive evidence that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre ran the advocacy group as his own personal fiefdom. LaPierre (photo) took luxury trips on a rich friend’s yachts — despite the friend having a lucrative contract with the NRA. LaPierre used the yachts as a refuge when public outrage surged over school shootings.

Pronske described the yacht trips as “straight out of ‘The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ ” and a clear violation of conflict-of-interest rules surroundin­g the NRA’s nonprofit status. The trial revealed LaPierre is a coddled executive living the high life surrounded by security. He’s not, evidence showed, an adept gun handler well versed in the art of self defense. Videos showed LaPierre couldn’t deliver a kill shot to a suffering elephant after three tries during a luxury hunting trip in Botswana. He’s outfitted with pricey suits. His wife allegedly had a traveling “glam squad.”

LaPierre said he implemente­d a “course correction” in recent years at the NRA.

“We have the right to live. We have the right to exert our First and Second Amendment rights,” NRA attorney Greg Garman said.

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