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Former GOP lawmaker and Trump ally Chris Collins begins prison sentence

Former GOP lawmaker and Trump ally Chris Collins begins prison sentence
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Former Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsPresidential pardons need to go Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Pardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office MORE (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday began his two-year prison sentence at Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Fla. after failing to delay his report date to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Collins’s attorneys Jonathan Barr and Jonathan New tried to get his report date pushed back to December over the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida. It was previously moved to Oct. 13 since the 70-year-old’s age puts him at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. 

The former congressman and Trump ally was originally set to begin his sentence on March 17. 

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"In the absence of a decision on his motion for an extension of the reporting date, Mr. Collins has reported as initially directed to FPC Pensacola,” Barr and New said in a statement, according to reports. “Although he is greatly concerned about the serious risks to his health from COVID-19 by reporting, he looks forward to putting this chapter behind him."

Collins was sentenced in January to 26 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI related to an Australian pharmaceutical company, Innate Therapeutics, which counted him as one of its top shareholders. 

The scandal had to do with Innate’s unsuccessful attempts to develop a drug to fight advanced multiple sclerosis. The company’s CEO shared a test’s failed results with board members and top executives, which Collins then shared with his son, who sold more than 1.3 million shares of Innate in U.S. markets ahead of the announcement of the drug’s failure.

Collins, who was the first sitting GOP congressman to endorse President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE’s campaign  in 2016, resigned from office in September of last year and later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud and one count of making false statements.

An investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics congressional ethics also found that he may have violated the law and House rules by sharing nonpublic information with investors. 

Collin’s son has also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and prosecutors have recommended that he serve at least 37 months in prison.