NEW YORK (WIVB) — UPDATE: A federal official tells our News 4 reporter that Chris Collins’ guilty plea did not require him to resign his seat in Congress.
It would appear he did that voluntarily. Chris Collins pleaded guilty inside a Manhattan courthouse during a Tuesday change of plea hearing, hours after he formally resigned from the House of Representatives.
Collins is now convicted on two counts: conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI.
The now-former congressman spent a year maintaining his innocence.
Collins was initially charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and making false statements to the FBI.
Collins served on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, an Australian biotechnology company. According to a criminal complaint, Collins learned of the negative results of some clinical trials for the company, and told his son Cameron about the results before they were released to the public, federal prosecutors say.
Collins admitted in court that he received the news of the failed drug test while at a White House event, and called his son to let him know.
“I was in a very emotional state. I called my son Cameron,” he told the judge. “I made it clear… that the trial had not succeeded.”
When the FBI knocked on Collins’ door, he says he “falsely denied to the agents that [he] had told [his] son Cameron about the drug trial results.”
“I regret my actions,” Collins said, claiming it will be “something I will live with the rest of my life.”
Each charge Collins pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Collins was elected as a Republican four times to Congress in a district spanning much of Western New York, including the Buffalo suburbs and stretching into the Finger Lakes.