© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference, to announce a suit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, In New York, U.S., August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The National Rifle Association said on Friday it will defend against New York Attorney General Letitia James’ bid to shut it down in a state court in Manhattan, and has dismissed its own federal lawsuit to block its dissolution.
The NRA made the move after a federal judge on May 11 threw out the gun rights group’s bankruptcy case, saying it was an improper effort to avoid James’ oversight and gain an “unfair litigation advantage” over her.
James’ office had no immediate comment.
The attorney general had sued to dissolve the NRA last August, accusing it of corruption, including the diversion of millions of dollars to officials like Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, who James wants to remove.
Later that day, the NRA sued James in New York’s state capital of Albany, accusing the Democrat of violating its constitutional free speech rights under the First Amendment because she opposed its policies.
Dropping the Albany case “will ensure that the NRA’s claims proceed promptly to discovery and a full vindication of its members’ rights,” the NRA’s lawyer, William Brewer, said in a statement.
In dismissing the bankruptcy case, which the NRA had filed in January, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Harlin Hale in Dallas faulted LaPierre for arranging it without telling his board of directors, calling it “nothing less than shocking.”
Hale also warned that another bankruptcy filing could result in the appointment of an outside trustee to run the NRA.
The group was founded in 1871 in New York, and had sought to reincorporate in Texas in connection with the bankruptcy.
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