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  • Actor Jim Carrey featured NRA head Wayne LaPierre in one of his scathing portraits. See Below (Photo: Jim Carrey/Twitter)

    UPDATE: National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre has announced he resignation as head of the organization just days before his New York corruption trial is due to start. The 74-year-old tendered his resignation on today (Jan. 5), citing “‘”health reasons.”

    The New York Independent called for his resignation in 2018.

    LaPierre, the long-time head of the NRA, allegedly treated the gun rights organization as his personal fiefdom, lavishing money on himself to support a high-flying lifestyle.

    In 2020, State Attorney General Letitia James filed a 169 page civil complaint with 18 separate charges for violating laws pertaining to the operation of New York non-profit organizations.

    “We are seeking to dissolve the NRA for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct that violate New York’s charities laws and undermine its own mission,” said James on Twitter, announcing the lawsuit.

    LaPierre’s actions allegedly contributed to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years, according to court papers.

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    .Now, the trial is set to begin this week, and LaPierre, 74, will have to answer for allegedly misappropriating tens of millions of dollars for such luxuries as private air travel, golf memberships, gifts, and luxury vacations.

    Actor Jim Carrey caricatured NRA head Wayne LaPierre as a right-wing firebrand in a portrait. (Photo: Jim Carrey/Twitter)

    The trial will kick off jury selection before State Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

    The state claims the expenditures were laundered them through the NRA’s advertising agency headed by a long-time LaPierre crony.

    The NRA is registered as a charitable organization in the state of New York. It’s required under its non-profit charter to comply with procedures and reporting requirements governing its spending.

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    Among the remedies, James said the state is seeking to dissolve the NRA, full restitution of funds and the ouster of LaPierre, as chief executive and executive vice president, jobs he has clung to tenaciously since 1991.

    LaPierre could also face a lifetime ban on participating in charitable organizations.

    During his tenure, the NRA executive took an organization that mainly focused on gun safety and politicized it. The focus increasingly shifted from 2nd Amendment gun rights, into hard-right political causes.

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    He distorted the group’s message, bullied Congress and through aggressive state and federal lobbying turned the nation into a free fire zone, where almost anybody can buy a deadly assault rifle.

    In 1995, LaPierre wrote a fundraising letter describing federal agents as “jack-booted government thugs” who wear “Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens.”

    Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, he blamed the violence on “gun-free zones,” violent films and video games, and called for armed officers in schools.

    After Trump took office in 2017, LaPierre adopted the rhetoric of hard-right and white supremacist groups, and Trump himself, attacking gun control advocates as “Socialists” and “Communists” or worse.

    The New York Independent called for LaPierre’s ouster in Feb. 2018 for driving the gun group off the rails deep into alt-right politics. The group contributed $30 million to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

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    During state and federal election cycles, the NRA could be counted on to spend millions of dollars on political advertising and lobbying, including aggressive media campaigns.

    But the organization has largely sat out the latest election cycle that will culminate in federal elections, including the president in 2024.

    LaPierre has studiously avoided the spotlight. while the group’s membership has dwindled from nearly 6 million members five years ago to about 4 million now. Revenue is down 44 percent since 2016, according to its internal audits. Legal costs have soared to tens of millions of dollars a year, according to The New York Times.

    The Attorney General’s office was instrumental in uncovering mis-spending and fraud in President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation, which has since been dissolved.

     The NRA’s lead lawyer, William A. Brewer III, told The Times the organization has undergone an overhaul to address its corporate practices.

    “This phase of the case is about tales from the crypt,” Brewer told the newspaper, adding that the organization’s mentality today was that “if you made a mistake, you’re going to pay it back with interest, and if you do it again, you’re gone.”

    But LaPierre still carries on.