Feld Entertainment and the Ringling Brothers circus have sued the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), its lawyers, and other animal rights groups under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In its Feb. 16 lawsuit, Feld leveled bribery, fraud, obstruction-of-justice, and money-laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys, three other animal rights groups, the Washington law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal (MGC), and all three of that firm's named partners.

On Dec. 30, Federal Judge Emmitt Sullivan ruled these defendants collaborated to pay more than $190,000 to Tom Rider, a former Feld employee who was an elephant “barn helper” for two years in the late 1990s, in exchange for his impeached testimony against Feld in an earlier lawsuit, testimony Judge Sullivan declared “not credible” and disregarded in its entirety, according to HumaneWatch.org, a website of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF).

Feld is also suing Rider and the nonprofit Wildlife Advocacy Project, claiming that MGC used it to funnel money from their plaintiff clients to Rider.