A former congressman who was one of President Donald Trump’s first supporters was sentenced Friday to two years and two months in federal prison after admitting he helped his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses when he learned that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed. Christopher Collins, 69, was sentenced by US District Judge Vernon S. Broderick in Manhattan after the Republican pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to law enforcement officials, per the AP. Collins broke down and apologized to his family, ex-constituents, and colleagues. "I stand here today as a disgraced former member of Congress," he said. "My life has been shattered." Collins' lawyers had argued he was sorry and should face no prison time in the insider trading case; prosecutors said he should go to prison for nearly five years.
They said Collins and his son, Cameron, were worth a total of $35 million when they conspired to sell shares in a pharmaceutical firm before devastating news was made public. The trading, prosecutors said, enabled Cameron Collins and friends to dodge $800,000 in losses. Collins' attorneys pushed for leniency, citing his contrition and advanced age, among other factors. "This is a sad and tragic day for Chris and his family," defense attorney Jonathan Barr said. "He stands before you humbled, penitent, and remorseful." Collins had been a vocal Trump supporter, becoming the first member of Congress to endorse him as a presidential candidate. Collins had represented western New York since his election to the state's 27th Congressional District in 2012. He resigned when he decided to plead guilty to one conspiracy count, leaving the district's constituents without representation in Congress. (Read more Chris Collins stories.)