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Ex-NRA official reaches settlement ahead of New York corruption trial

Mr Powell was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution

Kelly Rissman
Saturday 06 January 2024 17:26 GMT
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NRA chief resigns before civil trial

Just days before the corruption trial involving NRA leaders was set to begin, a former executive agreed to a $100,000 settlement with the New YorkAttorney General’s office.

Joshua Powell, the organisation’s ex-Executive Director of Operations, has admitted to the “claims of wrongdoing” brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James in her 2020 civil corruption suit. The trial is slated to begin on 8 January.

As part of the settlement, Mr Powell admitted misusing the nonprofit’s funds. He was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.

“Powell breached his fiduciary duties and failed to administer the charitable assets entrusted to his care by…using his powers as an officer and senior executive of the NRA to convert charitable assets for his own benefit and for the benefit of his family members,” the stipulation of settlement filing states.

“Joshua Powell’s admission of wrongdoing and Wayne LaPierre’s resignation confirm what we have alleged for years: the NRA and its senior leaders are financially corrupt,” Ms James said in a statement.

“More than three years ago, my office sued the NRA and its senior management for decades of financial abuse and mismanagement. These are important victories in our case, and we look forward to ensuring the NRA and the defendants face justice for their actions,” she added.

The AG’s office wrote that as a nonprofit, the NRA “has legal obligations to use its funds for charitable purposes, not to support the lavish lifestyles of senior management and organization insiders.”

Mr Powell also served as the chief of staff for Wayne LaPierre, who served as the organisation’s CEO and executive vice president since 1991. Mr LaPierre announced last week that he was stepping down from his position, citing “health reasons.”

The lawsuit claims Mr LaPierre “routinely abused his authority,” accusing him of funnelling NRA funds for his own personal travel and luxurious gifts.

Following the announcement of his departure, Ms James said, “LaPierre’s resignation validates our claims against him, but it will not insulate him or the NRA from accountability.”

Other members of the NRA’s leadership team are still set to stand trial. The other two defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit accuses Mr LaPierre of having “handpicked” certain employees “to facilitate his misuse of charitable assets.”

Ms James is seeking to dissolve the NRA, declaring that the nonprofit “has abused its powers” and that its leaders have “looted” the group’s charitable funds, removing Mr LaPierre from his position, and barring other defendants from serving in leadership positions in other nonprofit organisations in the state.

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