NRA Executive Admits Wrongdoing and Agrees to $100,000 Settlement Ahead of Corruption Trial

NEW YORK (AP) — A former top executive at the National Rifle Association (NRA) has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay $100,000 on the eve of a civil corruption trial involving the organization’s top executives. Joshua Powell, once the head of operations and chief of staff to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, reached a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office. The announcement came on the same day that LaPierre announced his resignation from the organization after more than three decades of service.

The settlement follows accusations made by New York Attorney General Letitia James that top NRA leaders misused over $64 million in donations. The lawsuit alleges that LaPierre and others used the funds for personal expenses such as private jets and luxurious vacations. Powell was one of five defendants named in the lawsuit, and while he has admitted to wrongdoing, the trial against the remaining four defendants is still scheduled to proceed.

Powell, who had broken ties with the NRA and published a tell-all book in 2020, had been critical of the organization’s fundraising tactics. In an interview with NPR, he claimed that the NRA attempted to exploit fear and radicalize gun owners in order to raise more money.

The NRA has consistently denied any wrongdoing and portrayed this lawsuit as a political effort by a Democratic state attorney general to undermine the organization. These arguments were rejected during the appeals court process, clearing the way for the trial to commence.

LaPierre’s resignation was attributed to health reasons, according to a statement released by the NRA. However, the gun control advocacy organization Brady sees the NRA as being in a precarious position due to its legal troubles.

During his tenure as CEO, LaPierre took a staunch stance against gun regulation despite the increase in mass shootings and gun violence in the United States. Firearms are now a leading cause of death for young Americans.

As part of the settlement, Powell agreed to pay $100,000. The trial against the remaining defendants is expected to proceed as planned. The NRA maintains its denial of any wrongdoing. This ongoing legal battle has put the NRA’s future at stake and has attracted significant attention from gun control advocates and supporters alike.

(Note: The original article contained a photograph. In accordance with AP News Style guidelines, the photograph has not been included in this rewritten article.)