Collins, 68, was arrested and charged along with his son Cameron Collins and another defendant for their role in illegal trading of stock in Australian biotechnology firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the elder Collins was a board member, according to the indictment released by the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY. "We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated", attorneys for Rep. Collins said in a statement on Wednesday. The probe made a similar finding about a 2013 meeting Collins attended at the National Institutes of Health, where he asked staff to meet with the Australian company about clinical trial designs. During the tax reform debate, when his fellow New York GOP members of Congress were up in arms about a provision that would likely raise taxes on many New Yorkers, Collins voiced support for the plan.
"Congressman Collins will have more to say on this issue later today", they added. He and the other defendants are charged with securities and wire fraud, conspiracy and lying to investigators.
Berman's office will hold a press conference at noon. According to the complaint, he passed inside information regarding the results of a negative test trial for a drug the company was producing to treat multiple sclerosis on to his son, who relayed the information on to his fiancé's father. They sold their stocks in the company before the public announcement, which caused the company's stock prices to drop by 92 percent.
An early supporter of Donald Trump, Collins, who represents suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester, was the first congressman to endorse him, in February of 2016.
In a statement shared by the congressman's office, Collins' lawyers pledged to "mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name".