What’s next for Chris Collins? This will determine now-former congressman’s sentence

Buffalo

NEW YORK CITY (WIVB) — Chris Collins was elected to four terms in Congress, but this week resigned, and then admitted his guilt in an insider trading case. An upcoming pre-sentencing investigation will determine just how drastically his life could change moving forward.

Sentencing guidelines call for Collins to receive about four years in prison, but the judge has discretion to hand the now-convicted felon whatever sentence he feels appropriate. The maximum sentence for each of the two counts Collins pleaded guilty to is five years apiece.

Judge Vernon Broderick is currently waiting for federal probation officers to complete a pre-sentencing investigation into Collins. They have time, as his sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2020.

Collins, through letters sent to New York’s governor and House of Representatives leadership, made clear on Monday his intent to resign as representative of New York’s 27th Congressional District. With a home base of Clarence, Collins won went to Congress as a Republican and before that, was the Erie County Executive following a business career.

While serving in Congress, Collins also was on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, an Australian biotechnology company. Upon learning about the negative results of some clinical trials for the company, Collins admitted to calling his son Cameron, who then allegedly informed his fiancee’s father, Stephen Zarsky.

When approached by the FBI, Collins admitted in court that he “falsely denied to the agents that [he] had told [his] son Cameron about the drug trial results.”

Both Cameron Collins and Zarsky are due Thursday in federal court for a change of plea hearing.

As for Chris Collins’ former constituents in the historically GOP stronghold, which spans some eight counties, three Republicans had prior to this week declared their intentions to run for the seat in Chris Jacobs, Rob Ortt and Beth Parlato. David Bellavia has been asked about his interest in running even prior to being awarded the Medal of Honor.

Democrat Nate McMurray, who lost last year to Collins in a hotly-contested race, also has declared.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed interest but not yet officially declared a special election, which would have to be held at least 70 days later. He told Buffalo’s WBFO that having it in April, on the same date of New York State’s presidential primaries, could make sense.

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