Jun 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New York judge dismisses NRA's claim of "witch hunt" investigation

A thin blue line flag, signaling support for law enforcement, is displayed above the sign for the National Rifle Association (NRA) outside of its headquarters.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) outside of its headquarters. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A New York judge dismissed the National Rifle Association's claims that an investigation into allegations of fraud and mismanagement by state Attorney General Letitia James is politically motivated.

Driving the news: State Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen said in a 14-page ruling that the NRA failed to make "any viable legal claims that the Attorney General’s investigation was unconstitutionally retaliatory or selective."

  • Cohen wrote that James' investigation found evidence that "undermines any suggestion that was a mere pretext to penalize the NRA for its constitutionally protected activities."
  • "The narrative that the Attorney General’s investigation into these undeniably serious matters was nothing more than a politically motivated — and unconstitutional — witch hunt is simply not supported by the record," he added.

Catch up quick: James filed a suit in 2020 that accused NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and other officials of fraud and mismanagement.

  • The lawsuit looked to end LaPierre's tenure at the top and dissolve the NRA altogether.
  • A judge rejected James' effort to put the NRA out of business, Reuters reports.

Details: The NRA denied any wrongdoing in response to James' lawsuit, saying the entire suit was a result of James' "personal vendetta" against the association, NBC News reports.

  • The NRA pointed to previous statements from James in which she called the NRA a "terrorist organization" before she was attorney general, USA Today reports.
  • The association filed a counterclaim seeking money damages from New York, as well as a court order that would end the civil suit. The judge rejected the counterclaim Friday.

What they're saying: "Once again, a court has rejected the NRA’s attempts to dismiss our lawsuit against the NRA for its years of fraud and abuse," James tweeted in response to the decision. "We will continue our efforts to hold the NRA accountable because no one is above the law."

  • An NRA attorney told Business Insider the group "will continue fighting for its members and the freedoms in which they believe."
  • The NRA did not immediately respond to an Axios request for comment.
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