A former congressman who was one of President Donald Trump’s first supporters was sentenced on Friday to two years and two months in federal prison after admitting he helped his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed.
Christopher Collins, 69, was sentenced by US District Judge Vernon S. Broderick in Manhattan after the Republican pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials.
Collins broke down and apologized to his family and his former constituents and colleagues.
The sentence came even after Collins' lawyers argued he was sorry and should face no prison time in the insider trading case.
Prosecutors, however, argued he should go to prison for nearly five years.
They said Collins and his son, Cameron, were worth a total of $35 million when they conspired to sell shares in a pharmaceutical company before devastating news was made public.
The trading, prosecutors said, enabled Cameron Collins and friends to dodge $800,000 in losses.
Collins had been a vocal Trump supporter, becoming the first member of Congress to endorse him as a presidential candidate.
He also called for an end to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible campaign collusion and blamed former President Barack Obama’s administration for failing to push back on Russia.
He vehemently denied wrongdoing when he was charged in 2018, with a spokeswoman calling a House Ethics Committee inquiry into Collins a “partisan witch hunt.”