Upstate Republican Rep. Chris Collins — who was charged Wednesday with insider trading — vowed Wednesday to fight the criminal charges and keep running for re-election in his Western New York district.
“The charges that have been levied against me are meritless, and I will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name,” he said in a Buffalo news conference, hours after he was charged by federal prosecutors. “I look forward to being fully vindicated and exonerated.”
One of President Trump’s earliest and most vocal backers, Collins declined to answer any questions following his five-minute-long statement.
Collins also failed to make any reference to his 25-year-old son Cameron, who the congressman allegedly tipped off last year to sell shares of an Australian biotech firm that was about to tank over a failed drug trial.
The inside information allegedly prompted Cameron to dump 1.4 million shares and avoid $570,00 in losses.
The embattled lawmaker said he was disappointed by the failure of a multiple sclerosis drug developed by Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, of which Collins was a board member.
He also tried to take credit for not selling his shares of the company — even though he was actually barred from selling as the subject of an ongoing congressional Ethics Committee probe, according to court papers.
“I held on to my shares rather than sell them. As a result, the significant investment I made in the company worth millions of dollars were wiped out. That’s OK,” Collins said.
“That’s the risk I took. My real concern lies with the millions of people suffering from secondary progressive MS who to this day struggle without life-saving treatments for their deadly disease.”
Despite this legal cloud over him, Collins is still considered a favorite to win re-election to his seat representing the deep red 27th Congressional District.
Trump won that district over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 24.3 percentage points.
“As I fight to clear my name, rest assured I will continue to work hard for the people and constituents of the 27th Congressional District of New York, and I will remain on the ballot running for reelection this November,” he said.
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