BUFFALO, N.Y. — Disgraced former Congressman Chris Collins was sentenced Friday to 26 months in prison for insider trading.
Collins was accused of illegally leaking confidential information about a biopharmaceutical company to his son Cameron and Stephen Zarsky, the father of his son's fiancée.
In addition to the prison term, Collins will also serve a one-year supervised release and a $200,000 fine.
2 On Your Side's Michael Wooten was in court during the sentencing. He says Collins was emotional speaking prior to his sentencing, especially when talking about his family and his time with the Boy Scouts. He also asked the judge to be merciful to his son.
Federal prosecutors wanted him to go to prison for 5 years. In a court filing Monday, prosecutors said Collins should be seriously punished for using inside information to help family members, including his son Cameron, avoid stock losses and then lying to the FBI about it.
Collins' defense said he's an honorable man who made a one-time mistake.
A few months back, Collins admitted that while a member of the board of an Australian biotech company, he got non-public information about a failed drug trial and shared that info with his son, to save him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Collins also lied to the FBI, which is a federal crime.
The guilty plea came despite Collins saying for more than a year that he was innocent. He even ran for re-election to Congress and narrowly won.
Cameron Collins pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Under his plea agreement, Cameron Collins could face 37 to 46 months in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for next week.
A few hours into the long sentencing, hearing Chris Collins was able to speak to the judge, and just seconds into it he began to get very emotional.
Collins thanked the judge for being so insightful and said, "I cannot ask for anything more than that," and then he just broke down.
He talked about his time involved with the Boy Scouts, saying "on my honor" are the words of the Boy Scouts. He said he violated that oath, and that he had no excuse.
Collins' wife, Mary, was in the courtroom. She broke down multiple times before the sentencing was announced. One of his daughters was in court, as well as his brother.
Visibly absent from the courtroom was his son, Cameron, who next week will be back in this same courthouse to face his own sentencing for his role in this insider trading case.
Collins apologized to his family, his constituents, his colleagues in government, the Boy Scouts and the FBI.
He really got most emotional when he talked about his family and how his son, Cameron, is just 27 years old, and now he will forever live with the stain of being a convicted felon. Cameron also faces prison time.
Based on the guidlines he will presumably be sentence to less time in prison than the 26 months given to his father.
Collins said during his speech to the judge that he got into a very dark place after pleading guilty to these charges, and said that he probably wouldn't be here if it were not for his daughter, who said his family needed him and that his grandkids needed him.
Citing that, Collins said he was able to come out of that dark place and not commit suicide that he apparently contemplated leading up to this sentencing.. He said people should not feel sorry for him.
"I don't deserve your sympathy," he said, finally telling the judge to "please save your sympathy and leniency for my son" when he is sentenced next week.