Rep. Chris Collins pleaded not guilty Thursday in Manhattan federal court to a revised indictment filed several weeks ago in an insider trading case in which he was originally charged in August 2018.
Collins, who didn’t speak in court other than to enter his plea, said outside the courthouse that he hasn’t decided whether to run for reelection in 2020, adding that he would decide by the end of this year.
“I look forward to being exonerated in due course,” the New York Republican said.
Collins and two other men, including the congressman’s son, are charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and other counts over an alleged scheme centered on an Australian pharmaceutical company. His co-defendants also pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Federal prosecutors in the Manhattan US Attorney’s office allege that the defendants acted on non-public information about the results of a drug trial, which was then used to trade on the stock of the pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, of which Collins was a board member.
The indictment doesn’t allege that Collins himself traded on information about the failed results of a drug trial, but that he passed the information to his son so that his son could execute trades. The revised indictment, known as a superseding indictment, narrowed the charges against Collins, dropping some, but not all, of the securities fraud counts.
Collins, who was the first sitting congressman to back President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, was reelected to office several months after he was originally indicted in the insider trading case.
The trial for Collins and his co-defendants is set for February 2020, but US District Court Judge Vernon Broderick indicated Thursday that the trial could be split into two or that the trial date could be moved back depending on whether Collins’ attorneys appeal certain aspects of the case.
If they do and those appeals are poised to proceed through early 2020, the judge will need to decide whether to go to trial in February 2020 with the remaining two defendants and try Collins separately at a later date, or whether to try all three defendants at a later date, likely during the summer of 2020.
Collins, whose primary election would occur in June 2020 if he decides to seek to retain his seat, said Thursday that he is “highly confident that if I run, I’d win the primary. Highly confident that if I won the primary, I’d be reelected in a general.”