Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican congressman from western New York, is resigning from his seat ahead of an expected guilty plea in an insider trading case in which he was accused of leaking confidential information during an urgent phone call made from a White House picnic on June 22, 2017. Collins submitted a resignation letter Monday, according to a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It will take effect when Congress meets in a brief session on Tuesday, the AP reports. A federal judge in Manhattan scheduled a hearing for Collins to enter a guilty plea to unspecified charges in the case Tuesday afternoon. A similar hearing has been scheduled Thursday for the congressman's son, Cameron Collins.
Collins had been scheduled to go to trial next year on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors accused him of sharing non-public information from a biopharmaceutical company with his son, allowing Cameron Collins and another man to avoid nearly $800,000 in stock losses. The case, filed in August of 2018, initially caused the 69-year-old Collins to drop a reelection bid, though he denied any wrongdoing and called the charges "meritless." But he restarted his campaign a month later, saying the "stakes are too high to allow the radical left to take control of this seat." He managed to fend off Democratic challenger Nate McMurray by a thin margin. With his departure, it will be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set a special election to fill the seat, which leans Republican. (Read much more on the call here.)