NRA on Trial: Day 3 Summary of Bankruptcy Trial
Beleaguered NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre finally took the stand during Day Three of the six-day trial in the NRA bankruptcy proceedings. It was LaPierre’s first time being examined and cross-examined in open court relating to the financial scandals that have engulfed the organization over the past two years. NRA General Counsel John Frazer also testified.
The proceedings culminated in a brutal cross-examination by the New York Attorney General’s office of LaPierre, in which LaPierre acknowledged several instances of extravagant spending and gifts, while repeatedly evading direct yes or no answers.
- LaPierre Admitted He Regularly Traveled to Bahamas on Hollywood Producer’s Dime, Claiming Week-Long Annual Yacht Stays Were “Security Retreat[s].” LaPierre admitted that, starting in 2013, he began making annual week-long trips to the Bahamas, where he stayed on one of two yachts owned by David McKenzie. McKenzie, a Hollywood producer, is a part or full stakeholder of multiple NRA vendors. LaPierre insisted that these trips were “a security retreat.” In addition, LaPierre said he also made multiple annual trips around New Years Eve to the Bahamas, where he would stay at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. He admitted that McKenzie paid for his stays at the resort, too.
- LaPierre’s Non-Responsive and Meandering Answers Prompted Judge Hale to Repeatedly Instruct LaPierre to Listen and Answer the Question. Including:
- “Mr. LaPierre, I think it would be better for everyone, including you, on shortening your testimony, if you would listen to the question in answering it.”
- “Mr. LaPierre, please listen to the question and answer it only.”
- “Just answer the question.”
- “Mr. LaPierre, this will go a lot quicker if you just listen to the question that’s asked and answer it.”
- “[Mr. LaPierre], if you just listen to Mr. Sheehan’s questions and answer that, your side is going to have an opportunity to explore probably the [same] things that you’re wanting to tell me.”
- “Mr. LaPierre, please don’t do that again. All right? … Would you not make me keep saying that, too? Would you please listen to the question and the answer because I’ve done this a few times this afternoon.”
- “[Mr. LaPierre], if you just listen carefully to the question and try to answer that, we can get done much quicker.”
- LaPierre Admitted He Didn’t Tell the Full NRA Board of Directors that He Intended to Put the NRA Into Bankruptcy. Other than three members, LaPierre was unable to identify any other member of this 70-plus person board of directors he informed of the bankruptcy. Moreover, he did not tell any of the salaried officers of the NRA about the bankruptcy filing until the day it occurred.
- LaPierre Admitted To Shopping At Beverly Hills Boutique for Designer Suits. LaPierre testified that he had shopped at Zegna for suits, blaming former NRA PR firm Ackerman McQueen while admitting he had a regular sales representative at the Beverly Hills boutique.
- LaPierre Admitted To Accepting All-Expenses-Paid Hunting Trips. LaPierre admitted that NRA vendor Under Wild Skies covered the costs of hunting trips — including airfare, licenses, professional hunters, and game assistants — to locales like Botswana for him and his wife. The vendor even paid to preserve and ship their hunting trophies to the couples’ home.
- LaPierre Executed His “Conflicts of Interest” Form Today, the Day of His Testimony. Incredibly, a document offered into evidence as Wayne LaPierre’s most recent conflicts of interest form was dated today, raising serious questions about the NRA’s purported commitment to compliance (a key issue in the trial).
The morning began with testimony continuing from NRA General Counsel John Frazer (read a summary of his testimony yesterday in Everytown’s Day Two Trial Summary). Today’s revelations from Frazer include:
- Frazer Revealed That NRA President Carolyn Meadows “Burnt and Shred NRA Documents” in 2019. During cross examination by Ackerman McQueen’s lawyer Mike Gruber, Frazer admitted that Meadows herself acknowledged burning and shredding NRA documents.
GRUBER: So, did she [Carolyn Meadows] acknowledge that she burnt and shred NRA documents in 2019?
FRAZER: I think that’s right.
- Recently, the NRA Paid the Brewer Firm at Least $94,000 to Work on Issues Relating to “Russia.” Two exhibits introduced at trial purportedly revealed the monthly bill from NRA attorney Bill Brewer’s firm for the month of December 2020 and some of January. These charges included more than $59,000 and $35,000, respectively, for work related to “Russia.”
- Attorneys Successfully Poked Holes in NRA’s Claim of Persecution in New York: Ackerman McQueen’s lawyer, in his cross examination of John Frazer, pointed out that the NRA’s claims of political persecution by the NYAG ignore the fact that any relief sought by the NYAG requires sign off by a judge and a court process. Frazer admitted that the NRA has due process rights in both state and federal forums, including appellate rights. Under cross-examination, Frazer admitted the NRA had previously chosen to file lawsuits in New York, and even won a case in front of the same judge that currently is hearing the NYAG v. NRA dispute.
- The NRA’s General Counsel John Frazer Testified Today that the NRA’s Former CFO Craig Spray Refused to Sign the NRA’s 2019 Regulatory Tax Filings. The CFO said at his deposition, which was played during the examination, that he was subsequently told by Wayne LaPierre that the NRA wanted to go in a “different direction.” LaPierre ultimately signed off on the tax filings himself.