NRA president Wayne LaPierre resigns days before trial begins

Days before a trial where the NRA will have to explain why it paid for his lavish lifestyle, longtime president Wayne LaPierre announced that he's resigning.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and chief executive officer, said his departure is effective Jan. 31. The trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit against him, the NRA and others who have served as organization executives is scheduled to start on Monday. LaPierre and ex-NRA President Oliver North are among the witnesses expected to testify.

LaPierre, 74, has led the NRA 's day-to-day operations since 1991, acting as the face and vehement voice of its gun rights agenda. He once warned of "jack-booted government thugs" seizing guns, called for armed guards in every school after a spate of shootings, and condemned foes backing gun control measures as "opportunists" who "exploit tragedy for gain."

The NRA is wildly corrupt: it's been taken to the cleaners by its ad agency, by various celebrities, and its own leaders. But the money never stops coming, and LaPierre's never been dislodged, because more than enough is left over to buy gun deregulation, which is the point. Andrew Arulanandam will take over, it states.

LaPierre's "greatest" moment was after the Sandy Hook massacre, where even right-wing politicians were wavering, and it came down to him to personally and plainly make clear that there would be no legislation except to ease access to guns: a moment that marked the end of the mock "gun control debate" in U.S. politics at the price of exposing how much influence the group wielded. If anything in this might be described as a downfall, it's that the subsequent flood of money into the NRA coffers guaranteed a level of misappropriation and corruption the law could not ignore—an outcome to be explored in court next week.