Sunday, August 12, 2018

UPDATES to 'The Grifters' redux - NY Rep. Collins suspends re-election bid

UPDATE #1: Chris Collins calls insider trading charges “meritless”. A Congressman, a Financial Deal and an Intricate Web of Conflicts.

In his statement, Mr. Collins called the insider trading charges “meritless” and vowed to fight them to have his “good name cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reported other initial reactions from Collins: Despite arrest, Republican congressman expects to win re-election.

Given [the] details, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Chris Collins has been charged with, among other things, insider trading. What is surprising is that the New York Republican insists he’s innocent and expects to be re-elected in three months, while out on bail.

Indeed, watching Collins yesterday was a dizzying experience. In the morning, he surrendered to the FBI. In the afternoon, the congressman pleaded not guilty and issued a statement that read, “Because my focus is to defeat these charges in Court, after today, I will not address any issues related to Innate Immunotherapeutics outside of the courtroom.” Soon after, Collins announced he’d host a press conference, at which he said he looked forward “to being fully vindicated and exonerated.”

Oops. I guess not.

UPDATE #2: The New York Times reports that Representative Chris Collins Suspends Bid for Re-election After Insider Trading Charges

Days after federal prosecutors charged him with insider trading, Representative Chris Collins announced on Saturday that he was abandoning his re-election bid amid worries that his legal troubles could make vulnerable his otherwise solidly Republican district in western New York.

How exactly the suspension of Mr. Collins’s campaign would play out was not immediately clear, as the process to get off the ballot can be onerous in New York, and Mr. Collins did not say how he would remove himself.

Mr. Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump for president in 2016, had initially vowed to stay on the ballot this fall but said on Saturday that he had decided it was “in the best interests” of his district, “the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda” to suspend his bid.

Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Collins with using his seat on the board of a small Australia-based drug company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, to tip off his son and others that the company had failed a critical scientific trial before that information was made public.

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