A judge ruled that New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ lawsuit filed against The National Rifle Association can proceed.
James claims that top executives illegally diverted millions of dollars for trips, no-show contracts for associates, and other expenses.
“It would be inappropriate to find that the attorney couldn’t pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants wants to proceed in federal court,” Judge Joel Cohen said during a virtual hearing.
According to Reuters, the NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to reincorporate in Texas. The NRA believes that the case should be transferred to Albany, where its New York office is, or to federal court — the group filed a countersuit accusing James of violating NRA members’ First Amendment rights.
“The NRA argued that the most appropriate venue for this case, along with its lawsuit against the New York Attorney General, is Albany,” William A. Brewer III, counsel for the NRA, said. “Although the Association disagrees with Justice Cohen’s construction of the venue statute, it remains confident that the New York Attorney General’s unconstitutional claims lack merit.”
“The NRA expressly stated that it is seeking to exit New York, its state of incorporation for nearly 150 years, to escape the authority of this Court and the oversight of the Attorney General, whom it falsely accuses of ‘an abuse of legal and regulatory power,” James Sheehan, New York Assistant Attorney General, said.
James is looking forward to the NRA being held accountable for violating the state laws on nonprofit financial practices.
“Today’s order reaffirms what we’ve known all along: the NRA does not get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions,” James said. “We thank the court for allowing our case to move forward and look forward to holding the NRA accountable.”