Western New York Congressman Chris Collins condemned the insider trading charges filed against him by federal authorities Wednesday night...calling them "meritless" and pledging a strong defense in court.
Collins spoke to reporters at a Buffalo Hotel for just short of eight minutes, after a near 90-minute delay. He left without taking questions.
The Republican Congressman did not directly address the charges, but detailed his connections with Innate Immunotherapy. Collins is accused of using his position as a director of the Australian pharmaceutical company to tip off his son and members of his son's girlfriend's family about an unsuccessful clinical trial for a new MS drug.
Collins said he will not speak again of the charges against him except in court...and he said he will clear his name.
Officials of the FBI, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission today laid out their case against Western New York Congressman Chris Collins -- arrested by the FBI and brought into a New York City courtroom to face charges of insider trading.
Collins is accused of using his position as a director of an Australian pharmaceutical company to tip off his son and members of his son's girlfriend's family about an unsuccessful clinical trial for a new MS drug.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York says Collins didn't sell any of his own stock, but his son, Cameron and Cameron's girlfriend's family did, saving some $800,000 by getting out before the stock tanked.
Stephanie Arakian of the Securities and Exchange Commission says that's a serious crime, and the SEC wants a serious penalty. That includes recovery of the profits made through insider trading and an order that Collins can never again serve on a corporate board.
Collins' attorneys say they will mount a vigorous defense to clear the Congressman's name. In a statement today, the attorneys say they are confident that Collins will be completely vindicated.
Collins himself said in a letter to constituents that both he and his son look forward to clearing their good names. Collins said he won’t talk about the issue outside of the courtroom, but will not resign, and will remain on the ballot for re-election in November. The congressman is currently free on bond and will hold a news conference at 6:30 p.m. in Buffalo.
In the meantime, House Speaker Paul Ryan has stripped Collins of his committee assignments, and there have been calls for him to resign.
Collins has represented New York's 27th congressional district since 2013. He was the first House member to actively support President Trump's election campaign.