Tags: Gun Rights | NRA | NYattorneygeneralLetitiaJames | lawsuit

NRA Countersuit Accuses NY AG of Bias Toward Organization

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By    |   Wednesday, 19 August 2020 03:34 PM

New York Attorney General Letitia James made it well known that she was gunning for the National Rifle Association when she was a candidate for the top legal job.

Now, some are wondering whether her inflammatory comments against the NRA will hurt her lawsuit against the organization, Yahoo News reports.

James vowed to investigate the group when she was campaigning for the attorney general position. She said the guns-rights group had a "poisonous agenda" that was "directly antithetical" to New York's tough gun-control laws. She even called the NRA a “criminal enterprise” and a “terrorist organization.”

Now, the NRA is using her comments in a countersuit it filed. The organization has claimed her display of a preconceived outcome that guided her investigation into the organization violated its First Amendment rights.

It will be up to the state courts to decide whether James’ comments will impact her case, which is aiming to dissolve the NRA.

"It's never helpful for any prosecutor to show any bias against a potential target in advance of litigation," Sean Delany, a Westchester attorney who led the Charities Bureau of the New York attorney general's office in the late 1990s, told Yahoo News. "But given the amount of wrongdoing alleged in the complaint, which draws a picture of a cesspool of fraud, it's hard to believe that the attorney general won't be able to prevail if she can prove even a fraction of those allegations."

The NRA is hoping James’ position on the organization will help limit her ongoing investigation and force the state to pay the NRA for damages. The countersuit alleges that James unfairly targeted the organization because she disagrees with its efforts to stop gun-control laws, which violates its free-speech and equal-protection rights.

"James's threatened, and actual, regulatory reprisals are a blatant and malicious retaliation campaign against the NRA and its constituents based on her disagreement with the content of their speech," according to the NRA's lawsuit.

James argues the NRA is using its countersuit to distract from the widespread fraud and corruption she alleged in her lawsuit.

The NRA's countersuit is just an attempt to divert attention away from the organization's "deep-rooted" fraud, James said in a statement.

"The facts speak for themselves, and our lawsuit will continue undeterred," she said.

Her suit focuses on Wayne LaPierre who she alleges used the organization to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Ted De Barbieri, an associate professor at Albany Law School, told Yahoo News it isn’t surprising the NRA filed litigation to defend itself.

The expert in nonprofit law said the NRA has a history of defending itself against lawsuits.

"Based on what I know of the NRA's litigation strategy in the past, they are very aggressive," he said. "They're going to use all the legal tools they have available."

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New York Attorney General Letitia James made it well known that she was gunning for the National Rifle Association when she was a candidate for the top legal job...
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Wednesday, 19 August 2020 03:34 PM
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