Court Again Rejects NRA’s Attempts to Use Distractions and Excuses as Defenses

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after New York State Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen denied motions by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to use previously-rejected counterclaims as part of their defense in the upcoming trial:

“For over two years, the NRA and its senior management have used every tool and trick to try and avoid the consequences of their bad actions. Bringing up arguments that have already been rejected is just the latest example of how far the NRA will go to distract from the serious charges of misconduct it is facing. I will continue to fight tirelessly to bring the NRA and its senior executives to justice and ensure all people, companies, and not-for-profits adhere to the rule of law in New York.”

Judge Cohen denied efforts by the NRA to use previously-rejected claims that Attorney General James’ investigation into the organization’s self-dealing, abuse, and unlawful conduct were unconstitutional and politically-motivated as a defense for the upcoming trial. Instead, just as he did in June 2022, Justice Cohen held that Attorney General James’ claims against the NRA are serious and viable, and are well within her office’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute.

Attorney General James first filed a lawsuit against the NRA and its senior management in August 2020. In the lawsuit, Attorney General James asserted the NRA and its senior management violated numerous state and federal laws, and even the NRA’s own bylaws and policies. An effort by the NRA to dismiss Attorney General James’ complaint and change the court venue was rejected in January 2021. The NRA even filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2021 in an attempt to avoid accountability by trying to reorganize the organization in Texas. In May 2021, a federal bankruptcy court in Texas rejected the NRA’s bankruptcy declaration, stating, “that the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith.”

In March 2022, a second round of motions brought forward by the NRA, Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer to try and dismiss the lawsuit were rejected. In September 2022, the Court rejected a third effort by the NRA to challenge the Attorney General’s claims and affirmed that Attorney General James can seek an independent monitor to oversee the NRA’s finances as part of her lawsuit.