The National Rifle Association (NRA) is set to face a high-stakes corruption trial as jury selection begins in New York. State Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen will preside over the case, which is expected to last six to eight weeks.
Last week, a New York state appeals court rejected the NRA’s latest attempt to end the corruption investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The NRA has long claimed that the case is politically motivated and a violation of their First Amendment rights.
A five-judge panel unanimously ruled that James’ office had probable cause to investigate and sue the NRA. The court dismissed the NRA’s claims of selective enforcement, citing evidence found by investigators.
While the court denied James’ request to dissolve the NRA entirely, her lawsuit aims to recover millions of dollars’ worth of assets and prevent NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and other defendants from serving on the board of any not-for-profit charitable organization in New York.
Jurors will have the power to recommend the removal of LaPierre and another defendant, as well as determine the amount of money each defendant should repay to the NRA.
Former Employee’s Revelations
A former NRA employee, fired in 2020, criticized the organization in a tell-all book, accusing it of prioritizing money over its mission. The individual has been engaged in settlement talks with James’ office.
Witnesses and Bankruptcy
The case relies heavily on witnesses who are no longer affiliated with the NRA, including its former president, Oliver North, and a former director turned critic of the organization. The NRA’s bankruptcy filing in Texas, which took place three years ago, was rejected by a federal court in May 2021.