Chris Collins, a New York Republican congressman until his resignation on Monday, pleaded guilty Tuesday in an insider trading case in federal court after having spent more than a year saying the allegations against him were “meritless” and winning reelection while under indictment.
Collins, the first sitting congressman to back President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“I regret my actions beyond anything that I could explain here today,” Collins said in court.
Collins and his co-defendants — his son and another man — had pleaded not guilty twice in the case, once after the original set of charges in August 2018 and a second time — to the revised charges contained in what’s known as a superseding indictment — in September 2019.
Regarding his son, Collins said that “putting him in this jeopardy at this young age … is something I will live with for the rest of my life.”
His co-defendants are set to change their pleas on Thursday, according to court filings. All three had been set to face trial in February 2020. Collins is scheduled to be sentenced on January 17.
Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman spoke to reporters outside of court after the hearing and said the plea is proof “no one is above the law.”
“Collins admitted to, among other things, illegally tipping his son while standing on the White House lawn,” Berman said. “By virtue of his position, Collins helped write the laws of this country and acted as if the law didn’t apply to him. This courthouse is a representation, personifies, the ideal of equal justice under the law. No one is above the law. It is because of our office’s commitment to, and pursuit of, that ideal that Collins is now a convicted felon and no longer a member of Congress.”
Collins had been charged in the superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and having made a false statement to an FBI agent.