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Manhattan judge tells AG she cannot dissolve National Rifle Association

Mar 04, 2022 12:45 am

Jane Wester is reporting for the New York Law Journal that a Manhattan judge on March 2, dismissed New York Attorney General Letitia James’ effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The court found the gun-rights advocacy group’s alleged failures can be addressed through “targeted, less intrusive relief” instead. James’ office is now considering its legal options, according to a statement released Wednesday. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen wrote the AG’s allegations, “if proven, tell a grim story of greed, self-dealing, and lax financial oversight at the highest levels of the National Rifle Association.” Cohen determined the allegations involve mostly “private harm” to the NRA and its members and donors, noting that the AG portrayed the organization as a “victim of its executives’ schemes” despite moving for dissolution. “The complaint does not allege that any financial misconduct benefited the NRA, or that the NRA exists primarily to carry out such activity, or that the NRA is incapable of continuing its legitimate activities on behalf of its millions of members. In short, the complaint does not allege the type of public harm that is the legal linchpin for imposing the ‘corporate death penalty,’” Cohen found. The NRA’s lead attorney, Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors partner William A. Brewer III, he applauds Cohen’s ruling on dissolution and looks forward to continuing to defend the organization as the suit moves ahead. “...[S]ince taking office in 2019, the Attorney General has pushed a contrived narrative about the NRA in her attempt to support a dissolution claim that is improper. This is a victory for not only the NRA, but all who believe in the right to free speech and association,” Brewer said. James’ office sued the NRA and four of its current or former executives in 2020, arguing that they had failed to properly manage the organization’s funds. A legal battle, including an effort by the NRA to move the case out of Manhattan, followed. The NRA also filed for bankruptcy and announced it would move to Texas; in May 2021, a Texas bankruptcy judge dismissed the NRA’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, finding that it was not filed in good faith. Read more at law [dot] com.

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