NEW YORK (WIVB) — For the first time since he was charged with insider trading, Rep. Chris Collins missed a vote in Washington to be in court Thursday.
The judge ordered Collins and his co-defendants to appear in front of him inside a Manhattan federal courtroom.
Outside of court, Collins maintained his innocence, and in the midst off all of this said he’s still thinking about his political future. He still hasn’t decided whether he will run for re-election next year.
“I will tell you if I do, I’m very confident that I will win. Polling would say right now, I would win a primary in a landslide,” said Collins, R-Clarence.
Collins is accused of passing an insider tip about a drug that failed its trial to his son Cameron, who then allegedly passed the tip to Stephen Zarsky, his future father-in-law. The elder Collins served on the board of the drug’s maker, Innate Immunotherapeutics.
Prosecutors say the younger Collins and Zarsky dumped their stock just before it crashed. All three men now face insider trader trading charges.
“We have our defense. We’ve not put that on yet. I am, as I’ve said, and continue to say. I’m innocent,” Collins said.
Collins’ attorney said in court he’s still considering appealing the judge’s recent decision to reject the defense’s request to see more evidence. Collins’ team believes that evidence might prove the congressman’s constitutional rights were violated, specially Speech and Debate rights. Those protect certain actions of congresspeople while they’re at work.
If Collins appeals the judge’s ruling, the February 3rd trial date could be in jeopardy.
Prosecutors have raised the possibility of separating Collins’s trial from the other two. That’s something all the defendants object to.
“We believe it should be one. It was one indictment, one instance that they’re alleging,” Collins said.
Meanwhile in Washington, the business of the House of Representatives went on without Collins. He missed five votes. His office pointed out he’s still made 98 percent of votes this year.
“Over the last year this is the first time I will have missed a vote in over one year related to the case,” Collins said.
As to Collins’s political future, he has loaned his campaign a half million dollars, so it’s there for him to use if he runs. Already, several Republicans have signaled their intention to run against him. Collins says he’ll make a decision by the end of the year.