Wayne LaPierre, the longtime leader of the National Rifle Association, confirmed in court testimony that he used funds from the gun group to pay for luxury travel.
LaPierre confirmed the expenses under oath in a New York City courtroom Friday as part of a civil corruption trial against the NRA following an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleges the NRA violated nonprofit laws and used millions of dollars in funds for personal expenses.
Some of those alleged expenses included $250,000 spent by LaPierre on luxury clothing and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of private air travel.
During his testimony, the 74-year-old head of the gun group mostly answered “yes” or “no” to questions about his spending, The New York Times reported. Though he claimed not to know the specifics of how much of his personal expenses were covered by the NRA, LaPierre acknowledged using private jets for travel for himself and his family.
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On one occasion, he authorized flying his niece, Colleen Sterner, from Dallas to her home in Nebraska, along with her daughter, at a cost of more than $11,000. On another, they were flown from Dallas to Orlando, Fla., at a cost of nearly $27,000. His niece was an N.R.A. employee — she was hired at the urging of Mr. LaPierre’s wife, Susan, he testified — but Mr. LaPierre agreed that N.R.A. policy required employees to typically fly coach.
LaPierre also acknowledged traveling with his family on a luxury yacht owned by David McKenzie, the head of Associated Television International, a production company that had a contract with the gun group.
Earlier this month, LaPierre announced he would be stepping down from his position as CEO of the NRA due to health reasons. He is expected to leave at the end of January.
Some of his former employees have turned against him, including Joshua Powell, the former second-in-command of the NRA, who reached a settlement with the attorney general’s office before trial.
In 2020, Powell accused LaPierre of using tragedies such as the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre as a way to siphon money from NRA members.