Lawyers in N.R.A. Trial Deliver Closing Arguments, Sending Case to Jury

Lawyers for New York State concluded their case against the National Rifle Association on Thursday, bringing an end to a closely watched civil showdown that accused leaders of the nation’s most prominent gun rights group of financial misconduct and corruption.

Over the last six weeks, lawyers for New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, have outlined a case that paints the N.R.A. as a mismanaged organization with little fealty to its mission of defending the Second Amendment or to the gun owners who prize that right. Monica Connell, representing the attorney general’s office, began her closing arguments on Thursday by comparing the defendants to children who grabbed cookies from a jar and were “caught with crumbs on their face and on their shirt.”

Central to the case has been the state’s depiction of the group’s former longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, as a lavish spender who used N.R.A. funds to pay for private jets, luxury vacations, and the occasional spin on a superyacht.

“This case is about corruption: Misuse of funds spent on jets, black cars, five-star hotels, hundreds of thousands of dollars of suits, million-dollar deals to insiders, payments to loyal board members and pervasive violations of internal controls,” Ms. Connell said to the nearly full courtroom in Manhattan.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Friday.

Mr. LaPierre, 74, stepped down just before the New York trial commenced, ending more than three decades as the head of the organization. He had nonetheless testified in the case, conceding to pricey trips and other perks. He also spent many days in the front row the courtroom, as government lawyers — and even his own — described his sometimes troubled leadership of the group.

Along with Mr. LaPierre, the defendants included John Frazer, the N.R.A.’s general counsel; Woody Phillips, a former finance chief; and the N.R.A. itself.

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Back to top button