Former GOP Rep. Chris Collins pleads guilty in insider trading case

Former GOP Rep. Chris Collins pleads guilty in insider trading case
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFormer Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to 2 years in prison for insider trading GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Democrats running to replace Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins vow to support ethics package MORE (R-N.Y.) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud and another count of false statements on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, according to CNN.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. He was originally indicted on 11 charges that included wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The former congressman was arrested last summer on charges that he traded on nonpublic information about an Australian biotech company. He had previously blasted those charges as “meritless.”

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Under the terms of Collins' plea deal, he will not be able to appeal any sentence under 57 months, with the government agreeing to a range of 46-57 months.

Collins, who became the first sitting congressman to endorse President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump endorses former White House physician Ronny Jackson for Congress Newly released emails reveal officials' panic over loss of credibility after Trump's Dorian claims Lindsey Graham thanks Trump, bemoans 'never-ending bull----' at South Carolina rally  MORE in the 2016 Republican primaries, initially pleaded not guilty when he was indicted last August along with his son and his son's fiancée's father. Both other defendants are expected to change their pleas to guilty in a hearing set for Thursday.

Collins submitted resignation letters on Monday to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi blasts Trump pick: He has shown 'clear disrespect' for intel community Appeals court rules House can't sue to enforce McGahn subpoena House approves bill banning flavored tobacco products MORE (D-Calif.) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who will decide whether to call a special election for Collins’s upstate seat before the November 2020 election.

Had Collins not resigned before pleading guilty to the felony, he would have been allowed by law to keep his seat but would have been barred from casting votes under House rules. He won reelection in November after his indictment, albeit by a razor-thin margin in a deep-red seat he had won in a landslide in every other election since 2012.