NEW YORK -- Former National Rifle Association President Oliver North accused the group's leader, Wayne LaPierre, of defaming him, forcing him out of the gun rights group and retaliating after North raised questions about lavish spending and financial mismanagement.
In a court filing Thursday, North said the NRA falsely accused him of fomenting a failed "coup" to get LaPierre, once a "long-term, close personal friend," to step down. Instead, North lost the power struggle and resigned in April after saying he had quietly tried to protect the NRA and its mission.
LaPierre, aided by the NRA's outside counsel, William Brewer, has since used adverse publicity to "undermine North and his efforts to address allegations of financial misconduct at the NRA," according to the filing.
North's claims came in response to an NRA lawsuit filed last month in New York state court in which the gun group claims he is not entitled to legal fees. North says the NRA's bylaws require the association to cover his legal fees stemming from a May 3 inquiry from the Senate Finance Committee and any other queries he may receive from law enforcement or investigative bodies about the NRA.
Spokesmen for the NRA and Brewer didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
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