Collins says he’ll run for reelection, takes no questions in press appearance
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday that he will continue to seek reelection to the House despite federal prosecutors charging him with securities fraud involving insider trading.
“As I fight to clear my name, rest assured, I will continue to work hard for the people and constituents of the 27th Congressional District of New York, and I will remain on the ballot running for reelection this November,” he said at a brief press appearance, where he also promised he would be exonerated from all charges.
The three-term congressman promised to wage “a vigorous defense” in court and said he looked forward to being “fully vindicated and exonerated,” but did not take questions from reporters following the conference.
“The charges that have been levied against me are meritless and I will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name,” Republican Rep. Chris Collins says after being charged with insider trading https://t.co/2hyaHiYb70 pic.twitter.com/KSpdT99NgM
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 9, 2018
Collins, the first congressman to endorse President Trump, was charged Wednesday with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements related to his role as a board member of an Australian pharmaceutical company in which he was heavily invested.
The congressman’s son, Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky — the father of Cameron’s fiancée — were also indicted Wednesday on the same charges.
Collins previously said in an email to supporters, obtained by a reporter for The New York Times, that he planned to be “on the ballot for reelection this November.”
He also tweeted on Wednesday that he intended to “fight to clear my name.”
I am proud to represent the people of #NY27. The charges being brought against me are meritless and I intend to fight to clear my name. I will continue to work hard for the people of #NY27 and earn your vote this November
— Chris Collins (@CollinsNY27) August 8, 2018
Collins pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday in the southern district of New York, the first step in what could be a lengthy legal battle with federal prosecutors.
The congressman is alleged to have helped family and friends avoid more than $768,000 in losses through stocks tips based on confidential information.
Collins served on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics and was the top shareholder of the Sydney-based company until April. Innate had been developing a highly anticipated treatment for multiple sclerosis and expected the drug to pass clinical trials by June 2017.
Collins and top Innate executives were reportedly stunned when test results from the trials received on June 22 showed that the drug had failed to make clinical improvements. According to prosecutors, Collins was informed of the bad news while attending the White House congressional picnic, where he allegedly called his son to tell him the confidential information.
Over the next four days, Cameron Collins would sell almost 1.4 million of his 5 million shares of Innate, in addition to allegedly tipping off a friend, fiancée Lauren Zarsky and her parents, Stephen and Dorothy Zarsky, who all dumped their stock before the trial results were made public, prosecutors charged.
Stephen Zarsky also allegedly shared the insider information with his brother and friend, both of whom owned Innate stock, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Updated at 8:10 p.m.