Ex-Lawmaker: Don't Throw Me in Prison. I Was a Boy Scout

Rep. Chris Collins has pleaded guilty to insider trading
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2020 1:05 PM CST
Prosecutors Want Max Prison Time for Ex-Lawmaker
In this Oct. 1, 2019, file photo, former US Rep. Chris Collins leaves federal court in New York. Prosecutors recommended Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, that Collins receive nearly five years for insider trading.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Prosecutors are seeking maximum prison time for a former lawmaker who's pleaded guilty to insider trading, Politico reports. Rep. Chris Collins, who initially denied the accusations, now faces up to five years in prison. "It is critically important that the sentence imposed on Congressman Collins drive home the message that status does not constitute a basis for leniency," Manhattan prosecutors wrote about the New York Republican. "Collins's decision to break the law while making the law—a decision that he made twice, ten months apart—was brazen." Prosecutors accuse the 69-year-old of lying under the oath and acting like "those in power who make the laws are not required to follow them." Collins was indicted in 2018 and won re-election later that same year.

While on the board for Innate Immunotherapeutics, Collins apparently revealed private data on drug-trial outcomes to his son so he could make better trades and help others. Collins himself failed to ditch his Innate shares—and lost about $17 million when trial outcomes were announced—but his son ducked over $570,000 in losses thanks to his dad's tips. Collins' son is one of two other defendants in the case, per CNN. Collins' attorneys are seeking no jail time, citing Collins' "exemplary character" and "long history of community and public service," among other things—including his rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts. Prosecutors say the "repeated reference" to Collins' time as a Boy Scout "only underscores that he was well positioned to know better." (More insider trading stories.)

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