Judge denies NRA’s defense strategy
Distractions and excuses, no substitute for substantive argument
New York State Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen once again rejected the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) attempts to use previously dismissed counterclaims as a defense strategy for the upcoming trial.
Justice Cohen dismissed the NRA’s efforts to leverage prior accusations that New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into their self-dealing, abuse, and alleged illegal activity was both unconstitutional and politically motivated. This defensive tactic was considered an attempt to distract from the charges at hand.
Attorney General James issued a statement following the court’s decision, emphasizing her continued commitment to holding the NRA and its senior management accountable for their actions.
“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,” said Attorney General James. “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.”
The legal battle between Attorney General James and the NRA began in August 2020 when James filed a lawsuit alleging the NRA and its senior executives had violated several state and federal laws, as well as the NRA’s own bylaws and policies. The NRA’s attempts to dodge this lawsuit, including efforts to change the court venue and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, were rejected.
Earlier this year, Justice Cohen upheld the credibility of the charges against the NRA. This ruling is consistent with his stance in June 2022 when he declared that Attorney General James’ claims against the NRA were serious, well within her jurisdiction, and warranted further investigation.
The NRA’s multiple attempts to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer, have been consistently overruled. As recently as September 2022, the Court confirmed that Attorney General James is within her rights to seek an independent monitor to oversee the NRA’s finances as part of her lawsuit.
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