NRA defends New York attorney general in Manhattan, drops own case

New York State Attorney General Letitia James in New York City on November 19, 2019.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

The National Rifle Association said on Friday it would defend itself against New York Attorney General Letitia James’ attempt to shut it down in Manhattan state court, and withdrew its own lawsuit aimed at blocking its efforts.

The NRA made the move after a federal judge on May 11 dismissed the gun rights group’s bankruptcy case, which he called an inappropriate effort to avoid regulatory oversight of James and obtain an “unfair litigation advantage”.

James sued the NRA last August, accusing it of corruption, including embezzling millions of dollars to benefit officials like CEO Wayne LaPierre, its chief for three decades. She also requests the eviction of LaPierre.

“Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants have used the NRA as fertile ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle,” James said in a statement. “Our fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law.”

Founded in 1871 in New York City, the NRA had sued James in the state capital of Albany on the same day the attorney general filed a lawsuit.

He then filed similar counterclaims in the Manhattan case, accusing James of violating his constitutional rights to free speech in a politically motivated “retaliatory campaign” because the Democrat didn’t like him. he represented.

Dropping the Albany case “will ensure that the NRA’s claims proceed swiftly and the rights of its members are fully asserted,” NRA attorney William Brewer said in a statement.

The NRA helped thwart Democrat-backed gun control measures in the US Congress and made gun rights a central political goal of the Republican Party.

In dismissing the bankruptcy case after a 12-day trial, US bankruptcy judge Harlin Hale in Dallas criticized LaPierre for arranging it without notifying his board of directors.

Hale also warned that another bankruptcy filing could result in the appointment of an outside director to lead the NRA, while adding that trial testimony suggested the group “now understands the importance of compliance.”

The case is New York v. The National Rifle Association of America Inc et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 451625/2020.

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