NRA doesn’t have to pay Oliver North’s legal bills, judge says

NEW YORK — The National Rifle Association won’t have to pay Oliver North’s legal bills, a New York judge ruled, after North was ousted as its president amid allegations of financial malfeasance and an attempted leadership coup. Justice Joel Cohen said Thursday that the gun rights group isn’t required under its internal rules or state bylaws to indemnify North for expenses he’s incurring as a witness in legal matters triggered by the infighting, including a probe of the NRA’s nonprofit status by New York’s attorney general. The turmoil began when North alleged that Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s longtime leader and public face, used the NRA to enrich himself, an accusation LaPierre denied. North was accused of trying to overthrow him. LOADING… Ruling from the bench, Cohen said the case boiled down to the meaning of a 93-word sentence in the NRA’s bylaws and didn’t hinge on allegations between the parties, including the group’s claim that North acted in bad faith when he began looking into alleged wrongdoing at the organization. “No sentence should be 93 words long, but once you wade through it, the meaning is clear,” Cohen said. “Colonel North’s reading would require something close to a blank check, and that’s just not what the bylaw says.” North’s lawyer, Alexander S. Zolan, declined to comment as he left the courtroom. William A. Brewer, a lawyer for the NRA, said in an emailed statement that Thursday’s ruling is a “resounding win” for the NRA in its dispute with North. […]

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