Politics

Rep. Chris Collins Will Face Trial In 2020

Prosecutors asked to move the trial to 2019

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on in June 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Rep. Chris Collins, who faces insider trading charges stemming from his investment in an Australian biotech company, will get his day in court on Feb. 3, 2020.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Hartman repeatedly asked to move up the trial date, stating there is a “strong public interest in seeing this case resolved in 2019,” CNN reported.

Federal prosecutors say the congressman received insider information that Innate Immunotherapeutics’ only drug failed a crucial clinical trial while he was attending the White House Congressional picnic in June 2017.

“Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???” Collins replied in an email to the company’s chief executive, according to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors say Collins then tipped his son, Cameron Collins, who unloaded enough shares in the next two days to skate $570,900 in losses. Cameron Collins then told four people, including his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s father, who told two others.

After a public announcement of the trial failure, the stock plunged to a nickel. Rep. Collins suffered a loss of $17 million for his investment.

Collins was arrested in August, and pleaded not guilty.

Collins was the company’s largest shareholder and a board member, and convinced some of his congressional colleagues to invest in the company, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

In addition to the criminal charges, Collins’ investment has raised a thicket of ethical questions — about whether Collins sponsored legislation to boost Innate, why a clinical trial for the drug was being conducted at a cancer clinic in his district, and why Collins lent a top aide who invested in Innate stock as much as $500,000.

Collins, an ally of President Donald Trump, faces a re-election challenge from Nate McMurray in November. Despite the charges against him, Collins is likely to secure his seat in a district Trump carried by nearly 25 points in 2016.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for the 27th District as Lean Republican.

Should Collins be re-elected then convicted of a felony, he would have to sit out floor votes, Congressional ethics experts say.

Watch: U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Collins

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