Judge: NY lawsuit seeking NRA's dissolution can go forward

FILE — In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James adjusts her glasses as she announces that the state is suing the National Rifle Association during a press conference, in New York. A New York judge on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, denied the National Rifle Association's bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York judge on Thursday denied the National Rifle Association's bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business.

Judge Joel Cohen's ruling will allow New York Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit to move ahead in state court in Manhattan, rather than dismissing it on technical grounds or moving it to federal court, as the NRA's lawyers desired.

James' lawsuit, filed last August, seeks the NRA's dissolution under state nonprofit law over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for trips, no-show contracts and other expenditures.

James is the state's chief law enforcement officer and has regulatory power over nonprofit organizations incorporated in the state, such as the NRA, Cohen said.

"It would be inappropriate to find that the attorney couldn't pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants wants to proceed in federal court," Cohen said at a hearing held by video because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cohen