U.S.

Embattled NRA chief announces his resignation

A corruptions trial involving Wayne LaPierre is scheduled to begin in New York next week.

Wayne LaPierre
Darron Cummings/AP
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Wayne LaPierre is stepping down as executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association. 

“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," LaPierre said. 

NRA President Charles Cotton said LaPierre, 74, cited health reasons for his decision to step down at the end of the month. 

The New York Times notes that LePierre is in the midst of a legal showdown with New York Attorney General Letitia James. A corruption trial is scheduled to begin next week. LaPierre is expected to testify in the trial, which alleges top executives from the NRA diverted millions of dollars from the organization and used that money for personal expenses. 

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The Associated Press reports that James is asking a judge to ban LaPierre and others named in the lawsuit from serving in leadership roles with charitable organizations that are in business in New York. 

The NRA referenced the lawsuit in the resignation announcement for LaPierre. 

"The NRA Board of Directors reports it has undertaken significant efforts to perform a self-evaluation, recommended termination of disgraced 'insiders' and vendors who allegedly abused the Association, and accepted reimbursement, with interest, for alleged excess benefit transactions from LaPierre, as reported in public tax filings," the organization stated. 

LaPierre added that he's "proud of the NRA’s advocacy in New York."