New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement after a director at the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought against the organization by Attorney General James, as well as the countersuit brought by the NRA against Attorney General James:
“While we continue to review this motion, we are glad to hear that Mr. Marshall agrees that Wayne LaPierre and his top lieutenants must be removed from the NRA. Our fight for transparency and accountability from the NRA and its leadership will continue because no organization is above the law.”
In August 2020, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against the NRA and four of the organization’s current or former top executives for failing to manage the NRA’s funds; failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, as well as the NRA’s own bylaws and policies; and contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years. The suit was filed against the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer.
That same day, the NRA filed a countersuit against Attorney General James. This past June, the NRA dropped that countersuit in an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail.
This action came after, this past January, in an effort to avoid accountability altogether, the NRA filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy even though the organization still claimed to have healthy financial reserves. Over the course of the bankruptcy trial, LaPierre and other senior leaders admitted that the bankruptcy was simply a way of avoiding New York’s enforcement action, yet still stated that they believed that New York courts and judges could be trusted to fairly and impartially oversee the case. In May, a federal bankruptcy court in Texas rejected the organization’s claims of bankruptcy after the NRA sought to reorganize in Texas, stating, “that the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith.”
Then, this past June, the NRA filed new counterclaims, which Attorney General James moved to dismiss.
This motion to intervene comes after two NRA members previously sought to intervene in the initial lawsuit and countersuit earlier this year. Earlier this month, Justice Joel Cohen of the New York State Supreme Court rejected the efforts of these two individuals to intervene in both matters.