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Republican congressman from New York Chris Collins, resigns ahead of insider trading plea

Chris Collins, a Republican U.S. congressman from New York state, resigned on Monday ahead of his expected guilty plea in a criminal insider trading case.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins of New York resigned Monday ahead of his expected guilty plea to charges related to an insider-trading case involving his son and an Australian biotechnology company.

“I hereby submit my resignation effective immediately, September 30, 2019,” Mr. Collins, a Republican, wrote in a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said her office had received Mr. Collins’s letter of resignation, which would become effective Tuesday during a House session.

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what charges Mr. Collins would plead guilty to Tuesday. In September, the representative from western New York pleaded not guilty to a revised set of insider-trading charges, including conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Prosecutors accused him of passing a confidential tip to his son, Cameron Collins, so he could sell shares in the biotechnology company before the public disclosure of a failed drug trial.

Mr. Collins is scheduled to enter his plea on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in federal court in Manhattan, the court filings says.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Collins referred a request to comment to his lawyer, who didn’t respond.

Mr. Collins, who represents New York’s 27th Congressional District, was an early supporter of President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

After his arrest last year, Mr. Collins announced that he would suspend his re-election campaign, only to reverse course and then win re-election. The seat is considered safe for Republicans, though Democrats sought to make it competitive last year.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, can call a special election to fill Mr. Collins’s seat. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said the governor was reviewing the situation.‎

Because of the indictment, Mr. Collins wasn’t placed on any congressional committees by the Republican leadership, giving him little power.

The case against Mr. Collins related to his position on the board of directors of Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd., a biotechnology company based in Sydney. He also held nearly 17% of the company’s stock, according to an indictment.

In June 2017, Mr. Collins gave information about a failed trial for a multiple-sclerosis drug that hadn’t been made public to his son Cameron, so that Cameron and others could sell stock before the results were announced, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that because of the tip, the younger Mr. Collins and others avoided a total of approximately $768,000 in losses.

According to another court filing, Rep. Collins’s two co-defendants—his son and Stephen Zarsky, who at the time of his arrest was the father of Cameron’s then-fiancée—are expected to plead guilty Thursday afternoon.

A lawyer for Cameron Collins didn’t respond to a request to comment. A lawyer for Mr. Zarsky declined to comment.

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