Wayne LaPierre is stepping down from the National Rifle Association after more than three decades as the leader of the gun rights advocacy group.
The decision came as LaPierre, 74, faces an impending legal showdown in New York, where jury selection has already begun in a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Letitia James, who has accused top officials of the organization, including LaPierre, of diverting millions of dollars for their personal use.
At the helm of the NRA since 1991, LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president and CEO, said his exit will take effect on January 31.
“With pride in all that we have accomplished, I am announcing my resignation from the NRA,” LaPierre said in a statement released by the NRA. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of this organization for most of my adult life, and I will never stop supporting the NRA and its fight to defend Second Amendment freedom. My passion for our cause burns as deeply as ever.”
James’ lawsuit against the NRA, LaPierre and others is scheduled to start on Monday, with LaPierre among those expected to testify.
LaPierre and three others are accused of illegally diverting tens of millions of dollars from the NRA and spending the nonprofit’s funds on vacations and other questionable expenditures.
James responded to LaPierre’s announced resignation by calling the development “an important victory” that “validates” her office’s claims against him. “We look forward to presenting our case in court,” the attorney general said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The suit filed by James in 2020 and others from serving in leadership roles of any not-for-profit or charitable organization doing business in New York, which would effectively bar them from involvement with the NRA.
The New York-based group filed for bankruptcy protection in 2021 and sought to move its headquarters to Texas. But a federal judge blocked the move, opening the door for New York prosecutors to proceed with their case.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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