AckMac Court Filing Noting Josh Powell’s Administrative Leave

Below is the Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Provide Meaningful and Supplemental Answers to Interrogatories. This was filed on January 23rd by attorneys for Ackerman McQueen in their legal battle with the National Rifle Association. It covers both the first and second lawsuit filed by the NRA against AckMac in City of Alexandria Circuit Court.

This is where we first learned the Wayne LaPierre’s Chief of Staff Josh Powell was on Administrative Leave. As far as I know, it had not been public knowledge before that.

There is a lot of legalese in these pages but a scan through them does give the reader a sense of the battle between the two former allies.

There is also the amusing line of Q&A indicating that Wayne was upset that someone at AckMac told the Wall Street Journal his grandniece had drawn on the walls of The Four Seasons with crayons.

2020.01.22_Ack MTC Rog Responses by jpr9954 on Scribd

Hat Tip – Beth for the document

The Pincus Deposition – Video Excerpt

As was mentioned in yesterday’s post on the Rob Pincus’ deposition in the NRA v Ackerman McQueen case, it was explicitly acknowledged that Rob was not properly served and that he appeared voluntarily. In the video below you can hear the objections of the attorneys for AckMac to the deposition including the fact that it was delivered to a location in New Jersey where he had not lived for years. You will also hear the fact that Rob explicitly acknowledges he is appearing voluntarily when asked by the attorney from the Brewer firm Michael Collins.

Thanks to Rob for providing this video excerpt of the deposition.

UPDATE: Rob has released a second video excerpt of his deposition. In the video below, he explains how he first came across the documents that purportedly were “leaked”. It was on Facebook on a page where he didn’t even know who managed the page. You can’t get any more public domain than that!

Save the Second has a long post on their website with more details on how Rob spent Friday.

The Pincus Deposition

Earlier in June, it was revealed that a number of people had been subpoenaed in the NRA’s lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen. While most of those who received a subpoena were NRA Board of Director members, trainer and activist Rob Pincus was also served. Ostensibly, the subpoenas were to find out who leaked information such as the bills from Ackerman McQueen regarding Wayne LaPierre’s clothing purchases, Oliver North and Richard Childress’ letter regarding outside counsel William Brewer III, and other such information.

Yesterday, Rob gave his deposition in the case to attorneys representing both the NRA and Ackerman McQueen.

He noted this on Facebook about his testimony in the deposition yesterday.

As I’ve said many times, I wasn’t involved in any “leaks” and I don’t know who was. Now that is part of the court record… officially. After consider time, effort and expense.

The NRA sent a team of lawyers from VA & TX and hired a local videographer and court reporter.
They sent them to one of the most remote locations in the Continental US and rented the town hall for the proceedings.
I walked over with my daughter and she hung out with the local pre-schoolers and a friend while the deposition took place.

I had offered to provide the documents that revealed pretty clearly when I first encountered the (already public) documents and save everyone a lot of time and money. The NRA Attorney’s wanted to do this today. Ackerman’s attorneys attended via phone line and video feed.

The location was Silverton, population 630, which is the county seat of San Juan County, Colorado. In other words, it was a long way from the big city. Or even any city.

Rob was gracious enough this morning to spend 20 minutes on the phone with me providing an after-action report. We discussed a number of things in the conversation including the why of the subpoena, what he thought they were trying to find, the cost to him, the monetary costs incurred by the NRA ‘s lawyers, and more.

The deposition took five hours, two attorneys for the NRA, a court reporter who had to travel from Denver, a videographer from Durango, and an expensive video conference hook-up so that the Ackerman McQueen attorneys could participate. Rob estimated that the costs ran upwards of $20,000 before you begin to figure in the attorneys’ billable hours. It was also very needless as Rob had made a good faith offer to provide all documentation and a sworn statement on what he knew. This offer was rejected by the lawyers representing the NRA.

As Rob travels often, the date could have been adjusted so that the deposition could have taken place in a more convenient and more cost effective location for the NRA and AckMac. The attorneys for AckMac noted in the meeting for the deposition that there was no reason to rush the process as it was early in discovery and no trial date had been set. Nonetheless, the lawyers for the NRA were insistent that the deposition be taken on June 28th as it appears they were more interested in speed. Rob believes that they were more interested in finding “the leak” than they were in the case itself.

The attorneys for the NRA, Robert Cox of Briglia Hundley and Michael J. Collins of Brewer Attorneys, admitted that Rob had not been properly served with the subpoena. As such, he appeared voluntarily at this deposition. In his opinion, the subpoena itself was an abuse of the discovery process meant as a fishing expedition and was meant to intimidate Rob as he has been a vocal critic of Wayne and the “Old Guard”.

I asked Rob about the costs to him both financially and emotionally. The financial costs were the distraction from his training and other businesses plus the lost productivity. The emotional costs were much higher. He had heard horror stories from friends about what to expect so he was very wary going into the deposition. Rob found that a number of people who had been talking with him before the subpoena suddenly stopped post-subpoena. Fortunately, he found the deposition “went far better than it could have with the lawyers” as they were professional, polite, and focused on the issues.

Rob wanted the following things highlighted.

  1. The deposition established nothing was leaked to Rob, nothing was stolen, and that everything he as received was in the public domain.
  2. He appeared voluntarily. As noted above, he was not properly served.
  3. He had nothing to hide.
  4. While subpoenaed by the attorneys for the NRA, he was critical of both sides in the case. 
Rob has told me that he will have video excerpts on the deposition available later today. I will post them as they become available.
I want to thank Rob again for taking the time out of his morning and out of his time with Baby Pincus to talk with me about the deposition.

NRA Files Second Lawsuit Against Ackerman McQueen (Updated)

The National Rifle Association filed a second lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen yesterday in Alexandria (VA) Circuit Court. The lawsuit accuses Ack-Mac of leaking sensitive documents to the press, of trying to engineer an executive coup, and of seeking to tarnish the reputation and public image of the NRA and its senior executives. The lawsuit seeks $40 million in damages.

According to the Wall Street Journal which was one of the new organizations that had stories on the leaked documents:

The Wall Street Journal was among the media outlets to which the NRA accused Ackerman of “directly or indirectly” leaking confidential information.

The Journal published an article earlier this month about Ackerman McQueen letters sent to the NRA related to Mr. LaPierre’s more than $500,000 in alleged wardrobe and travel expenses. The letters had been posted anonymously on the internet.

A spokesman for Dow Jones & Co. declined to comment. Dow Jones is owned by News Corp, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, Ackerman called the new lawsuit “another reckless attempt to scapegoat Ackerman McQueen for the NRA’s own breakdown in governance, compliance and leadership.”

The Daily Beast was the first outlet with the story yesterday afternoon. From their report:

“Over the past year, even as it withheld important documents and information from the NRA, AMc [Ackerman McQueen] readily shared snippets of confidential and proprietary materials with hostile third parties, including the news media–in a series of sordid, out-of-context ‘leaks’ engineered by AMc to harm its client,” the complaint reads.


An Ackerman McQueen spokesperson defended the firm.


“It is a sad day for NRA members that their leadership is more focused on attacking partners than fighting for freedom,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Once again the National Rifle Association leadership’s new lawsuit is another reckless attempt to scapegoat Ackerman McQueen for the NRA’s own breakdown in governance, compliance and leadership. We have done our job to protect the brand for decades and have continued to do so despite shameless and inaccurate attacks on our integrity and our personnel by a leadership group that is desperate to make this a story about anything other than their own failures.”

The story in the Daily Beast goes on to say that the lawsuit said that Ollie North was working as “an employee” of Ackerman McQueen when he said Wayne LaPierre should resign or damaging information would be released.

While I don’t have a copy of the actual complaint yet and thus don’t know who is the attorney of record, this second lawsuit comports with the advice typically given by the NRA’s outside legal counsel William Brewer III.

With regard to Brewer, the Daily Beast reported:

As of press time, the advertising firm has not entered court filings rebutting the NRA’s allegations. As the NRA’s legal fights metastasize, so do its legal bills. Leaked documents authenticated by The Daily Beast indicate that the NRA’s outside lawyer, Bill Brewer, has charged the gun group more than $24 million since signing on with them last year. That number came in a letter North wrote raising concerns about the NRA’s leadership. Outside legal ethics experts who reviewed North’s letter told The Daily Beast it raised serious concerns, and that the bills were “off the charts.”


Charles Cotton, who heads the audit committee of the NRA board, has said North’s claims are incorrect and that the NRA is pleased with Brewer’s work.


“Importantly, the relationship has been viewed, vetted, and approved,” he said in a statement.

Cotton is now the 1st Vice President and the presumptive choice to move into the presidency after Carolyn Meadows. Friends who are active in the gun rights movement in Texas note that Cotton was “anti-open carry and anti-liberty” though they did note Cotton did lash out at the current Speaker of the Texas House who is even worse at the beginning of the current session.

While I will say a pox on both their houses – I’m no fan of either Wayne or Ack-Mac – I see this as a counter-attack to muddy the waters even more. It is also a waste of money and diverts legal attention from the critical battle which is coming. The battle will not be with Ack-Mac, the battle will be with NY Attorney General Letitia James and the NY Charities Bureau to stave off dissolution of the NRA itself. I see that battle as the legal equivalent of the Battle of Stalingrad. The lax oversight of Ack-Mac and Wayne by the board when combined with the lavish salaries and extravagant spending have only served to provide our blood enemies ammunition with which to attack us.

UPDATE:  I was able to get a copy of the complaint and you can read the whole thing here.