New York attorney general claims victory against NRA after it dropped lawsuit against her

letitia james
In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question at a news conference in New York.

  • The National Rifle Association dropped its lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • NRA lawyers sued James and her office, claiming her investigation was politically motivated.
  • “We were victorious,” James’ office said in a statement, according to Law & Crime.
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The National Rifle Association on Friday dropped its lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James and her office.

“The NRA dropping its countersuit today in federal court is an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail,” James said in a statement to legal news outlet Law & Crime.

“The truth is that Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants used the NRA as a breeding ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle,” she continued. “We were victorious against the organization’s attempt to declare bankruptcy, and our fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law.”

According to CNN, the NRA said in a statement the suit was “voluntarily” withdrawn in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York “in favor of pursuing the same claims against James in New York State court in Manhattan.

The organization filed a similar lawsuit against James in New York state court earlier this year, according to CNN.

Lawyers for the NRA sued James and her office in August 2020, claiming James and her office were illegally investigating the organization for political reasons.

“There can be no doubt that the James’s actions against the NRA are motivated and substantially caused by her hostility toward the NRA’s political advocacy,” lawyers for the NRA claimed in the filing the lawsuit last year.

As Law & Crime reported, that lawsuit was filed the same day James’ office filed a petition seeking the dissolution of the NRA over claims of fraud at the organization, including that longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre and others improperly organization funds for pay for things like travel and “expensive meals.”

A federal judge last month dismissed the NRA’s request to declare bankruptcy and said its petition to do so had not “been filed in good faith” and that the NRA attempted to file bankruptcy to avoid litigation in New York.

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A Texas judge has thrown out the NRA’s bankruptcy case, clearing the way for New York’s attempts to dissolve the group

wayne lapierre
National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • A Texas judge rejected the NRA’s attempt to go bankrupt, siding with New York state prosecutors.
  • Prosecutors said the bankruptcy filing was an attempt to squirm out of other litigation.
  • In August, the New York Attorney General’s office accused the NRA of corruption and negligent oversight.
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A Texas judge is throwing out the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy filing, saying that the case was filed in “bad faith” in an effort to avoid litigation in New York.

Judge Harlin Hale’s decision to throw out the case came after New York Attorney General Letitia James and others questioned the legitimacy of the bankruptcy filing. Law 360 first reported the ruling.

The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 15 after James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the gun rights organization, alleging it abused its legal status as a nonprofit. In its August filing, New York prosecutors accused the group of corruption and said its longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight.”

While reports of financial troubles have dogged the NRA for years, its bankruptcy filings showed it was financially solvent and had assets worth roughly $50 million more than its debts. The organization tried to restructure in Texas, claiming New York had a corrupt regulatory environment.

Prosecutors for James’s office viewed the bankruptcy filing as an attempt to squirm out of the litigation. Hale’s decision sides with those prosecutors, effectively giving a green light to James’s office to continue its lawsuit.

“A judge has ruled in our favor and rejected the @NRA’s attempt to claim bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas,” James said in a tweet Tuesday. “The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court. No one is above the law.”

In court hearings, attorneys for the NRA have accused James of waging a political campaign against the organization. Closely aligned with Republican politicians, the NRA rallies its members to thwart gun safety laws typically supported by Democratic politicians. Research consistently shows that strict gun laws reduce gun violence. The NRA’s attorneys said that Texas, controlled by Republicans, would offer a regulatory haven for the organization.

The Justice Department stepped into the dispute earlier in May, saying the “evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes” that LaPierre failed to provide proper oversight and manipulated personal expenses so that they looked like business expenses.

Hale’s ruling permits the NRA to file for bankruptcy again, but he said that he would likely appoint a trustee to oversee the group if it does rather than leave LaPierre in control of the organization’s finances.

LaPierre is dealing with several other headaches in addition to litigation from the New York Attorney General’s office. In October, the Wall Street Journal reported he was under IRS investigation for possible criminal tax fraud. And in April, the Trace and the New Yorker published footage of him struggling to kill an elephant. The NRA said the publication of the video was intended to embarrass him.

This article has been updated.

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Video shows NRA’s Wayne LaPierre shooting but failing to kill an elephant for NRA-sponsored TV show that never aired

In this April 26, 2019, file photo, Nation Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre speaks at the association’s Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

  • A newly released video shows NRA head LaPierre shooting an endangered elephant on a 2013 hunting trip.
  • LaPierre repeatedly fails to kill the animal from close range; his guide eventually makes the kill.
  • LaPierre’s wife, Susan, kills another elephant with ease and is filmed cutting off the animal’s tail.
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As executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre has cultivated a careful image as the paragon of gun rights activism in America. But a nearly decade-old video obtained by The Trace and published in partnership with The New Yorker suggests LaPierre’s skill with a rifle may be lacking.

LaPierre and his wife, Susan, traveled to Botswana’s Okavango Delta in 2013, on a mission to boost the NRA’s reputation among hunters, a demographic crucial to the organization’s base. A crew from the NRA-sponsored TV series, “Under Wild Skies,” came along to capture the NRA chief executive’s big game hunting adventures in the African bush, according to The New Yorker.

But the program never aired due to concerns the footage could cause a public relations crisis, the outlet reported.

Now, eight years later, footage from the hunt has been published, displaying LaPierre’s inability to kill the largest land mammal on Earth from close range and highlighting his wife’s apparently superior marksmanship.

The nine-minute video begins with LaPierre walking through the bush, dressed for a safari and accompanied by multiple professional hunting guides as well as Tony Makris, a longtime public relations advisor to LaPierre who is also the host of “Under Wild Skies.”

One of the guides sees an elephant behind a tree. LaPierre readies himself to take a shot as the guide repeatedly tells him to wait. But LaPierre is wearing earplugs and misses the guide’s instructions. He shoots and the animal falls.

“Did we get him?” LaPierre says.

The guide says yes, but as the group moves closer to the fallen African bush elephant, a species declared endangered earlier this year, the guide repositions LaPierre within a few meters to take a final shot at the still-breathing animal.

Then begins a nearly two-minute failed endeavor by LaPierre to kill the motionless animal. LaPierre fires three shots, each time failing to hit his mark and each time being instructed by the guide on how to re-adjust.

“I’m not sure where you’re shooting,” the guide says to LaPierre.

He responds by saying, “Where are you telling me to shoot?”

Eventually, the guide instructs Makris to finish the animal instead. He shoots and kills the elephant with ease.

In the latter half of the footage, LaPierre’s wife, Susan, gets her shot at the same prize.

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An African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is feeding on the vegetation in the Jao concession, Wildlife, Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Susan and her guides approach two elephants in the bush and whisper about how to proceed. The guide instructs Susan to aim between the animal’s eyes. She cocks her rifle and shoots. The bullet goes dead center in the elephant’s head as it drops to the ground.

Another guide congratulates her on appearing to kill the elephant with a single bullet. With the help of a guide, she fires one more bullet into the animal to be sure.

Following the kill, Susan responds by hugging her guides. “You can see how old he is. And lots of wrinkles,” she says, examining the dead elephant.

With her guide’s help, Susan cuts off part of the elephant’s tail, a ritual hunters do to claim the kill in “olden days,” according to the guide.

She holds the bloody tail up for the camera, smiles, and says, “victory!”

The NRA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Even though the LaPierre’s hunting footage never aired, The New Yorker reported that records show the couple still obtained proof of their hunting exploits: Body parts from the two elephants were shipped to the US “in a hidden manner,” at Susan’s written request, according to the outlet.

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NRA’s Wayne LaPierre fled to a friend’s luxury yacht to escape public outrage over mass shootings

wayne lapierre
National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Wayne LaPierre used a yacht to flee public outrage over mass shootings.
  • He spoke about the yacht in a deposition filed as part of the NRA’s bankruptcy case.
  • He said he was “basically under presidential threat without presidential security.”
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National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre feared for his life after mass school shootings in recent years, and sought refuge on his friend’s luxury yacht.

LaPierre spoke about the yacht, owned by Hollywood producer Stanton McKenzie, in a deposition filed over the weekend as part of the NRA’s bankruptcy case in Dallas.

“I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting,” LaPierre said in the deposition. “And all of us were struggling with how to deal with that type situation with a private citizen with the amount of threat that we were having. And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.'”

He said he used the yacht as a “security retreat” because he felt threatened by public outrage over the shootings and gun policies.

Read more: The House passed two bills for universal gun background checks before the Colorado and Atlanta shootings. Here’s what the measures would do.

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