Manhattan judge shoots down legal bid by two NRA members to intervene in NY AG’s lawsuit

By Larry McShane

NEW YORK — A Manhattan judge shot down a Thursday bid by two National Rifle Association members to spare the gun rights group from a lawsuit aimed at its eradication.

Lawyers for Francis Tate and Mario Aguirre, both card-carrying NRA members, argued the group’s rank-and-file should be permitted to intervene in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James to shutter the New York-chartered non-profit.

The pair opposed James’ efforts for dissolution of the NRA, saying they instead hope to reform its leadership.

But state Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen, after a nearly 90-minute hearing, ruled their arguments did not “rise at this point to grounds of intervention.”

The NRA members’ attorneys asserted the group’s 5 million members nationwide were entitled to take control of the organization as prosecutors pursued its longtime leader Wayne La Pierre and his co-defendants with an eye to the group’s demise.

“In any sane situation, (LaPierre and the NRA’s leaders) would be asked to step aside until they cleared their names,” said attorney Francois Blaudeau, who represented the two NRA members and a third unidentified member of the group’s board of directors.

Instead, it was business as usual in the NRA, with LaPierre continuing to run the operation and its members facing an uncertain future, Blaudeau said.

“You would have to have blinders on and a sack over your head to believe the (NRA) board is making decisions without input from Mr. LaPierre,” he added. “... You can’t leave the fox in the hen house when the fox is killing the chickens.”

Cohen, unmoved, noted the petitioners lacked by a wide margin the 5% of NRA membership involvement needed in such cases.,

James issued a statement hailing the decision.

“No matter who argues on its behalf, the fact remains that the National Rifle Association is fraught with fraud and abuse,” she said. “We are grateful that the court denied today’s motion and look forward to our case moving forward expeditiously.”


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