NRA v. Ackerman, Texas

Ackerman McQueen’s Reply in Support of Motion to Disqualify NRA Lawyer Bill Brewer

June 3, 2020

Filing Summary

This brief contains Ackerman McQueen’s additional arguments for why NRA attorney Bill Brewer should be disqualified from the litigation. These arguments include discussions of alleged conflicts of interest and the likelihood Brewer will be a trial witness, among others.  Of note, the brief contains reference to a number of depositions in the litigation, including those of senior NRA officials, that shed light on previously undisclosed facts about the dispute between the NRA and its longtime partner Ackerman McQueen.    

Key Points

  • Interestingly, the brief discusses an October 2018 meeting between Ackerman, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, and NRA CFO Craig Spray where “LaPierre promised [Ackerman] that Brewer and his firm (and Josh Powell) would no longer be involved with [Ackerman], including future audits.”  Josh Powell was the Chief of Staff to LaPierre.  Ackerman claims that this meeting involved discussion of “Brewer’s harassment and criminal threats” to Ackerman. (p.3)
  • Ackerman also claims to have been defrauded when the NRA proposed, and Ackerman agreed, to an “independent” audit by an entity called Forensic Risk Alliance (“FRA”).  As it turns out, according to the pleading, the “lead” of the audit at FRA was an individual who had been NRA attorney Bill Brewer’s “Director of Consulting” for 17 years and had just left the Brewer firm.  Ackerman claims it was never advised of this close connection between Brewer and the “independent auditor.” (p.3).  Incredibly, Ackerman now claims that it recently learned that this individual, after a short stint at FRA, “is back at the Brewer firm.”
    • The brief points out that Bill Brewer will likely be a necessary trial witness, and thus should not be allowed to represent the NRA in the litigation, because “on the FRA fraud… either Brewer was acting at the direction of the NRA or LaPierre, or he was acting outside the scope of his authority.” (p.9)
  • Ackerman claims Brewer has taken “the NRA to the brink of financial ruin” (p.3), and indicates Brewer is billing “$1+ million per month every month for the past two years (minimum).” (p.5, note 30).  Ackerman then concludes “it is difficult to imagine any other reason why the NRA cut $80 million and took its organization ‘down to the studs’ before the COVID hit.”  The “down to the studs” comment refers to reporting by NPR about comments Wayne LaPierre made to the NRA Board of Directors (which can be read here).
  • The brief, citing to testimony in the litigation, indicates “LaPierre said the NRA decided to sue the [Ackerman] before any of the audits (including ones by Brewer) ever took place….” (p.3)
  • The brief specifically references facts learned from “Col. North (Dec. 2019), Millie Hallow (Jan. 2020), John Frazer (Jan. 2020), Carolyn Meadows (Jan. 2020), Charles Cotton (Feb. 2020, and “Steve Hart (Feb. 2020)” as supporting its disqualification motion.  (p.7)