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Collins: "I intend to go trial to clear my name"

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Mike Desmond/WBFO
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Rep. Chris Collins says he is happy federal prosecutors have dropped some of the charges against him and against his son Cameron in his insider trading case.

A key issue in this criminal case is the U.S. Constitution's "speech and debates" clause. That says a member of Congress can't be challenged for something he says in Congress.

Prosecutors from New York's Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office empaneled a new grand jury and dropped some charges which a judge might have ruled impinged on that constitutional provision.

"Clearly those issues were real enough and concerning enough to the Southern District that they did convene a new grand jury. That's extraordinarily rare," said Collins, making a rare statement Wednesday about the pending case.

In a letter to the trial judge, prosecutors indicated they dropped the charges to avoid excessive delays in resolving the case. The trial is set for February 2020 in Manhattan. Collins was arrested and charged initially in August 2018.

"I've said all along I'm not doing anything to get a plea deal. I intend to go to trial to clear my name," Collins told reporters. "Let's just say the wheels of justice move slowly."

Collins says his lawyers want more information about the new charges and would like to see the case go to trial as scheduled in February but he wants to be ready with all of the needed information.

He is charged with giving advance information to friends and relatives that a pharmaceutical company he and the others had invested in was likely to drop in stock price because a drug from the company had been rejected by regulators.
 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.