GOP Rep. Chris Collins Hit With Insider Trading Charges

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The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY plans to hold a press conference at noon to detail the charges against Collins and the two others.

Collins gained prominence for being one of the earliest Capitol Hill backers of President Donald Trump. Neither has responded to requests for comment since the Collins indictment was handed up.

The Department of Justice released a statement that said the indictment is related to an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics.

Prosecutors allege that Collins passed along secrets to his son in June 2017.

The Australia-based biotech company is trying to develop a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Collins' attorneys said they plan to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name".

Chris Collins couldn't sell off his stock, according to prosecutors; He was already under a congressional ethics investigation and his stock was in the Australian markets, which had already halted trading of Innate stock.

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In a statement, the congressman's legal counsel addressed the accusations, expressing confidence he will be vindicated and exonerated in court. "We look forward to addressing these charges in court".

The House Ethics Committee declined to comment on the indictment Wednesday.

Collins was also a member of the company's board of directors.

According to the indictment, the defendants tried to get early word on the results of tests by a pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited.

"[Innate's experimental drug] and placebo... no doubt we will want to consider this extremely bad news".

"Wow. Makes no sense".

"The crime that [Collins] committed was to tip his son Cameron so that Cameron and a few others could trade on the news while the investing public remained in the dark", Berman said.

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According to the filing, Collins' own stock declined by millions of dollars in value when the results of the trial were made public.

Collins had been under a U.S. House Ethics Committee review over questions about whether he had received inside information about the stock - and there had also been stories about whether he wrongly forwarded information to other lawmakers, who purchased stock as well.

Collins, who resigned in April from the Innate board, has denied wrongdoing.

While Collins bought the stocks before a crash, Culberson bought at a peak price in January 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported. The spokesman declined further comment.

Price resigned as health secretary under criticism for taking pricey charter flights at taxpayers' expense.

"The charges against Congressman Collins show the rampant culture of corruption and self-enrichment among Republicans in Washington today", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) fired off in a statement before prosecutors had even held a news conference to explain what they think Collins did wrong.

"He tipped his son to confidential corporate information at the expense of regular investors", U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

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