NEW YORK (WIVB) – Three charges against Rep. Chris Collins in his insider trading case have been dropped. Federal prosecutors in New York re-presented the case to a new grand jury, which handed up a new indictment Tuesday.
The superseding indictment replaces the original indictment, which was handed up in August 2018. Collins is accused of passing insider information to his son Cameron about a drug company called Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins once served on that company’s board.
The new indictment drops three of the seven security fraud charges against Rep. Collins. He still faces charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI.
Two of the security fraud charges against Cameron Collins were also dropped in the new indictment. Cameron’s future father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky also faces charges.
In a letter to the judge, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said when the case was re-presented, prosecutors did not use any information Rep. Collins has been fighting to keep out of the case based on the Speech or Debate clause.
Berman wrote, “The government has made these modifications to the original indictment in an effort to avoid unnecessary pretrial litigation that could delay the resolution of this matter, including the possibility of an interlocutory appeal.”
Collins’ attorney began to protest some of the evidence all the way back in February.
“(I)t appears that the government relied on Speech or Debate protected activities in pursuing and charging this case,” his lawyer Jonathan New wrote to the judge on February 8th.
“The Speech or Debate clause of the United States Constitution says that anything that a congressperson does or says from when they leave their house to get to Congress, while their in Congress, or in their car to get home can never be used against them to arrest them,” attorney Barry Covert explained.
Covert has no affiliation with the Collins case. However, he opined that the charges dropped in the new indictment weren’t the main charges.
“The main strategy or the main theme of the indictment has really survived,” Covert said.
The trial in Collins’ case is scheduled for February 3, 2020.