NRA Case Positive Spin: Letitia James

Both sides of the dissolution lawsuit involving the New York Attorney General and the NRA are trying to put a positive spin on Judge Joel Cohen’s ruling yesterday. Below is the spin put on it by NY Attorney General Letitia James.

Letitia James in New York City on 19 November 2019.
Reuters photo

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after Justice Joel Cohen of the New York County State Supreme Court rejected a second round of motions brought forward by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer as they sought to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General James against the organization in August 2020:

“Today, the court affirmed my office’s right to pursue its long-standing claims that fraud, abuse, and greed permeate through the NRA and its senior leadership. While we’re heartened that the judge rejected the NRA’s attempts to thwart most of the claims in our case against the NRA, we are disappointed that the judge ruled against the dissolution portion of the case. We are considering our legal options with respect to this ruling. We remain committed to enforcing New York law regardless of how powerful any individual or organization may be.”

In today’s decision, the court let stand all of the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) claims of self-dealing, abuse, and unlawful conduct by LaPierre, who has been at the helm of the NRA for three decades. Similarly, the court rebuked the efforts by Frazer to dismiss him from the case, finding that OAG’s allegations that Frazer violated his obligations as the NRA’s General Counsel for failing to address conflicts of interest and respond to whistleblowers who alerted the NRA to systemic financial wrongdoing were valid. The court also held that OAG’s claims against the NRA for false regulatory filings and failing to address conflicts of interest will proceed. 

As an attorney friend mentioned to me yesterday, Judge Cohen’s ruling could be appealed. James is acknowledging this in her statement where she says they “are considering our legal options”. That said, I’d be a little surprised if they do appeal it. A partial win is better than no win at all.