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Congressman Chris Collins, awaiting insider trading trial, has yet to decide on 2020 run


Upstate New York Congressman Chris Collins said Thursday he had not decided whether to run for reelection — shortly after a judge vowed he would face trial for insider trading in February.

The Republican, who was one of President Trump’s earliest supporters, appeared in Manhattan Federal Court alongside his son and the father of his son’s ex-fiancée. The trio are accused of illegally dumping shares of a biotech company, saving them nearly $800,000 in losses.

“I’ve not decided if I’m going to run for reelection. I’m very confident if I do, I’ll win,” Collins said after a hearing in his case that lasted over two hours. “There’s no rush.”

Charges against the congressman, Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky were announced in Aug. 2018. The case has been bogged down by legal arguments since then. During the hearing Collins and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty to a new indictment issued by prosecutors last month to expedite the case.

“The case has been pending for a long time,” Judge Vernon Broderick said. “I don’t intend to move the trial date. The trial date is going to be what it is.”

Collins’ district includes the suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester. The securities fraud charges against him involve an Australian biotech firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics. He was one of its largest shareholders and sat on its board of directors.

Prosecutors say the congressman was caught on camera at a White House picnic making a call to his son, Cameron, in which he revealed a new multiple sclerosis drug had failed a key medical trial that would send the value of the company plummeting by 92%. By the time the bad news went public, Cameron Collins and Zarsky had dumped their shares, avoiding losses of $768,000, prosecutors say.

“I look forward to being exonerated,” Chris Collins said, adding that he’s spending much of his time “in D.C. doing my job.”