Trials & Litigation
Ex-NRA CEO didn’t consult GCs office about key legal decisions, general counsel testifies
Former National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre didn’t consult his general counsel before the group sued its advertising agency and sought bankruptcy protection, two legal filings that didn’t end well for the NRA, according to testimony Tuesday. (Image from Shutterstock)
Former National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre didn’t consult his general counsel before the group sued its advertising agency and sought bankruptcy protection, two legal filings that didn’t end well for the NRA, according to testimony Tuesday.
General counsel John Frazer testified that he wasn’t consulted about the lawsuit against ad agency Ackerman McQueen, which was very costly, or the bankruptcy filing, which was dismissed after a judge found that it was not filed in good faith.
Law.com and Courthouse News Service covered the testimony.
Frazer, LaPierre and the NRA are among the defendants in the civil fraud case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The suit alleges that LaPierre exploited the NRA for the benefit of himself and his inner circle, using donor money to pay for private jets, expensive meals and family vacations.
James contends that Frazer was hired as general counsel for his loyalty, rather than his legal experience, according to Courthouse News Service.
NRA Watch concluded that Frazer’s testimony “painted a picture of a chief legal officer that was largely out of the loop on big legal decisions, and an organization that had largely given control of such legal decisions to” its outside law firm, Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors.
The NRA had sued the Ackerman McQueen agency in 2019 to obtain details about its contract with Oliver North, a former NRA president, who left the NRA after unsuccessfully seeking financial information from LaPierre. The ad agency counterclaimed. North testified about his rift with the NRA last week, Courthouse News Service and Newsweek reported.
Legal filings in the civil fraud case indicate that the NRA paid more than $12 million in settlement funds to Ackerman McQueen, according to a PRWeek story that ran in April 2023.
On Tuesday, Frazer was asked whether it was true that the Brewer firm received more than $100 million in legal fees from the NRA from 2018 to 2022. Frazer said he never calculated the amount.