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Representative Chris Collins, a Buffalo-area congressman and early Trump booster, is poised to plead guilty to insider trading charges. [UPDATE: Collins hasreportedlyresigned from his seat.]
The GOP lawmaker wascharged last yearwith trading insider information related to Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, on whose board he served. He was arrested along with his son Cameron Collins, as well as the father of Cameron’s fiancée, Stephen Zarsky.
While Collins had initially entered a not-guilty plea—describing the charges as“meritless”—a new docket entry in the case shows that Collins intends to change his plea on Tuesday. His co-defendants will reverse their pleas on Thursday, records show.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Collins was at a White House picnic in 2017 when he got inside information that the biotech company’s sole drug had failed a clinical test. He passed that information to his son, who dumped his shares in the company and alerted Zarsky, prosecutors allege.
When news of the failed drug test was publicly released later that month, shares in the company dropped 92 percent.
Remarkably, the actual conversation appears to have been caught on video by CBS news (Jared Kushner also makes a cameo).
Collins was thefirst member of Congressto endorse Donald Trump’s bid for president. He won a fourth term last year, following his indictment, but is reportedlybleeding full-time staffers.The congressman now faces eight counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements.
A spokesperson for Collins did not respond to Gothamist’s inquiries.
UPDATE:The Congressman hasreportedlydelivered his resignation letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He plans to make it official on the house floor Tuesday morning. The seat will be filled following the results of a special election.
BREAKING NEWS:@SpeakerPelosiofficial confirms her office received letter of resignation from Rep. Chris Collins (R- NY-27) today. Collins’ resignation will be official as of tomorrow’s pro forma session when the letter is laid down on the floor.@SpectrumNewsDC@SPECNewsBuffalo
— Jeevan Vittal (@JvittalTV)September 30, 2019