The head of the National Rifle Association said in a statement he fled to a private yacht out of fear for his safety following the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shooting.
The 108-foot yacht – with two Sea-Doo WaveRunners and a staff of four, including a cook – was where Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the gun rights group, fled after the shootings in mass of schoolchildren in 2012 and 2018.
“They just let me use it as a safe retreat because they knew how threatened I was,” LaPierre said during a weekend deposition in Texas, where he hopes the NRA may file for bankruptcy to avoid legal action brought by the New York attorney general. Letitia James.
LaPierre said the decision to flee to his friend’s yacht, named The Illusion, was due to threats he received after the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012 that left 20 children and six adults dead. LaPierre then fled to the yacht a second time in 2018 following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Which left 17 people dead, according to his testimony.
“And I was basically under presidential threat with no presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was receiving,” LaPierre continued. “And that was the only place I hope I can feel safe, where I remember going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, no one can bring me here.’ And that’s how it happened. This is why I used it.
The bankruptcy hearing is expected to last six days and will likely determine the future of the NRA, which has drowned in legal fees over the past year amid threats of losing its tax-exempt status following an investigation by the New York Attorney General. which revealed that the gun group lost $ 64 million over three years. Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine also continues the group, alleging that donor money intended to fund gun security and training has been “diverted to support the unnecessary expenses of the NRA and its leaders”.
The NRA was also dropped by its advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, which has asked a federal court to dismiss the NRA’s attempt to file for bankruptcy in Texas, according to the Washington Post. The gun group has also seen a sharp decline in leadership, with board members leaving the ship in the past two years.
Adding to the group’s enemies list is Joshua Powell, the former chief of staff the NRA sacked in January for allegedly charging the nonprofit $ 58,000 in personal expenses.
The NRA is “rife with fraud and corruption,” and LaPierre “couldn’t run an organization on a solid financial footing to save his life,” Powell wrote in a recent book on the group.
As the bankruptcy hearing continues, NRA attorney Greg Garman conceded to the New York Daily News that there would likely be some embarrassing news to come.
“Will there be facts that are moderately wacky?” Garman told the publication. “The answer is yes. We are not going to run away from them.
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