MSNBC Live: U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Rep. Chris Collins | NBC News
Well before. The bar of justice. Now. I'd like to go into the details, of the allegations, a little more. In. Addition to, serving in the House of Representatives. Congressman. Collins. Was also, on. The board of directors of, an, eighth immunotherapy. DEQ's a, publicly. Traded company that, was developing, a drug for, multiple sclerosis. In. June of, 2017. Congressman. Collins, was, told some, confidential. And highly sensitive. Information about. Innate. Information. That, was not yet made public. Namely. That. In Nate's main drug, the. Drug Nate, was developing, to, be the backbone of, its company, was. A total, failure. This. Was devastating, information. For the company. Congressman. Collins, had an obligation, a legal. Duty to keep. That information secret. Until. That information, was released by the company to, the public. But. He didn't keep it secret. Instead. As alleged. He, decided to commit a crime he. Placed his family, and friends. Above, the public good. Congressman. Collins was a major investor. In an eight and. So was his son Cameron. The. Congressman, knew he couldn't sell his own shares, for. Personal, and technical, reasons. Including. That, he was already under. An investigation. Regarding a name by, the Congressional. Ethics Office. The, crime that he committed was. To tip his son Cameron, so. That Cameron, and a, few select others, could. Trade on the news while. The investing, public renamed, remained, in the dark. As. The indictment, alleges that's. Exactly, what they did. His. Son Cameron sold. Cameron's. Fiancee, sold, the. Father of the fiancie. Czarsky. Sold, mr.. Czarsky's, wife sold other, friends. And relatives. Sold. And. Ball, because, congressman. Collins, violated. His duty to. Keep a Nate's information. Secret and, when. The news of the, drugs failure, became public, the. Stock plummeted, in. Total, the, conspirators. Used, the inside information to, avoid, over, seven hundred and fifty thousand, dollars in losses. But. Congressman Collins, couldn't. Keep his crime a secret, forever the. FBI asked, to interview him and instead. Of telling the truth he. Lied and so. Did Cameron Collins, and so, did Stephen czarsky, by. Lying to the FBI they. Compounded. Their insider, trading, crime, with. The crime of criminal cover-up. Now. I'd like to go over to these two charts which. Summarize. Some of the, allegations. In. The indictment. The. Storks chart is, a tipping, chain, it. Demonstrates. The. Flow of the, illegal, insider. Information, and, the.
Trading, The. Illegal trading of that information, at the top of the chain. Congressman. Collins. He. Add obligation. Has. An eight board member, when, he received, confidential. Corporate. Information to. Keep that information, secret. Until the company announced, it to the public, in total. Disregard, of, that obligation. Minutes. After. Congressman, Collins, received. The devastating. And highly, confidential, news that. An AIDS drug had failed its. Drug trial. Congressman. Collins tip. That inside information to, his son so, that his Sutton could trade. Cameron. Collins. When. He received, that. Illegal inside, information he. Did two things, both. Of which are illegal. He. Sold stock, based. On that inside, information and, avoided. Five hundred, and seventy thousand. Dollars in, losses and, he. Also took, that illegal inside, information and, tipped. Others. He. Tipped his fiancee. He. Tipped his fiancee's wife, he. Tips his fiance's, father and he. Tipped a friend, all. Of whom traded. On, that, illegal inside, information. Stephen, czarsky, his, fiancee, his father. Avoided. A hundred and forty three thousand, dollars in losses, by. Trading on that information and, he. Tipped others he. Tipped his brother, he. Tipped his sister, and, he, tipped a friend, to, of who traded, on the information, one. Attempted, to trade on the information, but. Was unable, in. Total, the, conspirators. Avoided. Losses of. Over, seven, hundred and sixty eight thousand. Dollars all. Because, of the initial. Illegal. Insider, trading tip, by. Congressman Collins. In. This chart we set, some of the key allegations. In. The indictment, against. A timeline, a backdrop, of the, innate share, price. On. The evening of June 22nd. 2017. Congressman. Collins was, at a congressional, picnic, and at. 6:55. He received an email from the CEO, of an eight informing. Him of the horrendous nuke was that the, drug had failed its trial. At. 7:10. P.m.. Congressman. Collins, responded. To. That email. So as the indictment, alleges, at, least. At 7:10. P.m.. Congressman. Collins was aware of the, inside, information. A. Minute. Later. Congress. Put Collins attempt, to call his son. In. A period, of five minutes there. Are six. Unsuccessful. Calls, on. The seventh call at. 7:16. P.m. has. Alleged being tightened. Congressman. Collins, tips. Illegally. Tips his son Cameron, about, the. Drug trial, results. So, that his, son Cameron could. Trade on. Those results. Later. That evening on, June 22nd. After. Cameron, Copland has the illegal. Insider, trading information. Akron. Collins, drives, with his fiancee, to, his fiance's, parents house. They. Arrive at the house at. 9:17. P.m.. Less. Than 20 minutes later at, 9:34. P.m.. The. Fiancees. Mother, is. On the phone with her broker. Beginning. The process of, selling, her shares of an eight. The. Next morning on June 23rd, at. 7:42. A.m.. Cameron. Collins, begins, the process of. Selling his shares of, an 8, during. June 23rd, and June 26. Cameron. Collins, sells. Approximately. 1.3. 9 million, shares, of an 8 prior. To. The market, close of, June. 26. After. The market closes, the. Nate announces, to the public, that, it's drug had failed the trial and. The. Next day the. Drug price the price of an 8 was. Off click that. Drops. 92%, in value in, a single, day this. Was the drop, that. Was anticipated. By, the co-conspirators. This. Was the drop in value that the, co-conspirator, is avoided, by, selling, their shares before. The public announcement and they, could only sell those shares by, virtue of the, initial. Tip. Of inside, information, by. Congressman, Collins. Case. Of, this type and significance. Obviously. Involves, the SEC, and the FBI, and. Their representatives. Are standing up here with me today, to. My left is. My good friend bill Sweeney the assistant. Director in charge of the FBI's. New. York field office and. To. The far left is, John, Brosnan. The. Special agent, in charge, of. The FBI New York office Criminal. Division, the. FBI's, work on this case was. Spectacular, and. I want to thank them for their professionalism. And dedication, we. Work with the FBI on, so many important. Cases and. It is always a privilege. To. The left of Bill this.
Is Stephanie. Avakian and. Steve Pekin who. Are co directors, of the, SCC's. Division. Of enforcement I want. To thank them and the, SEC, for. Their hard work on this matter. Last. I want to acknowledge and, thank the, career. Prosecutors in, my office handling. The case, to. My right is, max Nicholas, Damien. Williams Bob. Allen, Scott. Hartman, and the. Co Chiefs of our, Securities. And commodities fraud. Task, force. Tim. Casillas, and Jason, Calley. Congressman. Collins. Who. By. Virtue of his office, helps. To write the, laws of our nation. Acted. As if. The, law didn't. Apply to him. The. Charges, today. Demonstrate. Once again. That. No matter what the crime and. The matter who. Committed, it, we. Stand, committed, in. The pursuit of justice without. Fear, or favor, I. Would. Now like to invite to the podium bill. Sweeney. Thank. You Jeff and good afternoon everybody. U.s.. Representative Christopher. Collins set on an eats board of directors for a period of more than three years spanning. The run-up to the drug trial announcement, in mid 2017. Collins. Himself was, the company's largest shareholder. In, her about the summer of 2017, a drug, designed, to treat a deep adult a debilitating form, of multiple sclerosis and entered, the late stages of a Phase two the clinical, trial, this. Drug M is for 16, was, the only viable drug, in the pipeline for. An 8 this. Is significant, and that the company's value was nearly completely wrapped up in, the success of the clinical trial and, a subsequent phase 3 trial. On. The evening of June 22nd. 2017. Collins. Received an email informing him, that M is for 16, had, failed its clinical trial. Electronic. Records indicate. His initial shock at having received the news the. Drug once anticipated. To hold billions, of dollar and value would, now be the cause a significant. Financial loss, for an eight and of. Course its investors, many. Of whom shared a personal relationship with congressman, Collins. What comics while the congressman, was legally bound to keep his information confidential, until. The trial results were released to the investing public four, days later on June 26, we. Allege he did not, the. Indictment, charges that Collins immediately, began contacting the, family and friends he, had bought into the fold, this. Set off a ripple, effect in which, many investors, directly. Or indirectly connected, to congressman, Collins were notified. Most. Of them quickly sold their shares, and, ate stock price plummeted, 92. Percent on, the first trading day, following. The public announcement, but. Collins conspirators, had save themselves over. Seven hundred and fifty thousand, dollars in losses. Collins. Himself having. Been prohibited, from selling his shares for various reasons, did, not avoid, a financial loss, despite. This fact his, alleged actions bought, him face to face with federal agents who, had become aware of the crime that had been committed. When. Questioned, by law enforcement about, the alleged dealings, congressman. Collins his, son Cameron, Cameron's. Fiancees father Stevens, our Ski lied, plain, and simple. Today. They are charged with insider trading and lying, to federal law enforcement agents. While. Collins may have thought that giving his family and friends a heads-up about material. Nonpublic, information. Would. Benefit them in the long run here's, a better inside tip for those who think they can play by a different set of rules, access. To this kind of information carries. With it's significant, responsibility. Especially. For those in society, who hold a position of trust act. Honorably and, in accordance with the law and do, not lie to special, agents of the FBI. Many. Thanks always to our partners especially Jeff, and your, team of career prosecutors, gentlemen, your work has been exceptional, to, the SEC, I personally, like to thank Stephanie, and Steve for your work your, team has also been outstanding to. John and John Cassell who lead our white-collar branch into. Your team of special agents and investigators I, want, to extend. My personal appreciation. Some. Are standing in the back and the shadows, but, to Nick John Yelena and Tracy, your work has been exceptional, what you do in the community matters, and makes a difference thank you. Like. To invite to the podium, stephanie, Avakian. Co-director. Of enforcement, at the sec. Thanks. John good afternoon, as. Jeff said my, name is Stephanie Avakian and I'm co-director of the SCC's division, of enforcement and before I begin my, remarks I'd, like to also thank US. Attorney Jeff Berman and his prosecutors. As, well as the FBI who, worked on this matter for their assistance, today. The, SEC, filed securities. Fraud charges, against.
Congressman, Christopher Collins, his, son Cameron, Collins, and three others, alleging. That they engaged in insider trading ahead, of an eight immuno, therapeutics, announcement. Of negative drug trial results, in June, 2017. The. SCC's complaints, alleged that Christopher Collins learned, of the negative news in his capacity as, a member of an 8 sport of directors and quickly. Tipped Cameron. Collins, who, held a large position you're watching the enforcement, officer, from the SEC following. The FBI, deputy, director and also. For that region and also Jeff Berman the US attorney who, replaced. Preet. Bharara I. Believe as, a trump nominee, this, is totally. Separate from the Muller investigations. As Chuck Todd was just saying I want to bring in Casey. Hunt because Casey. Congressman. Collins, is on the ballot and according. To new york state law there, is no way for him not to be reelected. If. The voters choose to reelect him Donald Trump won that district by 59, percent, of the vote Chris. Collins, was the first member of Congress, completely. The first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump the candidate before even Jeff Sessions did from the Senate and his. Most loyal supporter. And his congressional liaison, during the transition, at a time when, there, was literally no one in the Republican, Party who, was a holding, elective, office at the federal level who would stand next to president, Trump II Chris, Collins is the guy who did he, took that leap and and we know how the Trump family views. Loyalty, like this but you're. Right he's, likely to be reelected, there's no, real, way to strip him off the ballot without Collins's. Consent, in doing so and let's. Not forget there's. History of members. Of Congress continuing, to serve even when they're under a cloud, of indictment, Democrats, as well as Republicans and, that interestingly. The, Democratic, Leader Nancy Pelosi, put out a statement sharply. Criticizing, him and talking about the corruption but no one in Congress and leadership is calling for him to step down, pending. A conviction. And. Chuck, join. Us here because senator, Menendez stayed. Through a very, contentious, trial and was, acquitted and is still you, know the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. You know Casey's, right in this respect if you look at the history of members of Congress, who have been under investigation and, you and you talk to the ones that agreed. To leadership, demands. That they resign, and those, that didn't the, ones that resign always regret it they always did they always look back and think oh I could have beaten it or maybe I could have survived, I'll. Tell you this though I in, this environment, the, amount, of attention this is gonna get look, this, is a solid Republican district, but. His Democratic, opponent is. A local. Elected official he's attentive supervisor. Not not in Buffalo, but in and around that area. You. Know he's not he's. Not unviable, is my point here and so, I wouldn't, totally write it off but I do think, the calculation, is this Andrea, and and if I were Steve Stivers by the way talking, about like I said the guys already had a rough week rough night in Ohio then, you wake up to this now, like I said I brought up there's a whole Virginia, Beach problem, too with an incumbent member down there it's got Taylor a special, local special prosecutor, investigating, petition. Signature, fraud right so you had all these little headaches but if you're Stivers you know you say to yourself yo you, know what rather. Than trying to figure out how to get a new candidate on the ballot you probably, got a 55, percent chance, that Collins can beat this out although, I would remind you remember Dan Rostenkowski back. In the day Andrea he. Was under, under, investigation, and people thought yeah well not that district, yeah guess, what that, District two went down in 94, it, could it can happen but, if your your, the Deborah publicans here the best thing to do just, politically, would be see, if Colin survives and then if he does force, them out and maybe, you can win a special in the spring of nineteen or something and let me just also point out because some people may have as, well a long memory this, issue of this stock came, up with another sitting, member of Congress who was Tom Price he was being nominated to be HHS, secretary, now he ended. Up stepping, down after all sorts of allegations about improper.
Use Of charter, expensive, charter flights and it never was this issue but, he was questioned about his stock sales here and whether or not he had gotten some tips from, his friend, and colleague Chris, Collins so nothing was ever alleged, nothing is being alleged he has not been charged in this so there's no evidence against, him but this was an issue in that confirmation, as well, there's a whole drain the swamp issue here that has not been fully addressed Kristen, Welker is, standing. By as well at the White House, Kristen, the White House keeps you, know buffeting. Away any, allegations. About, insider. This and insider that in corruption. But. This, is the first person to endorse, the. Candidate, Donald Trump, it's. Going to be very difficult area for, President, Trump to, distance, himself from Chris Collins for that very, reason this. Is the, first person to endorse President Trump someone, who is sort of an unofficial liaison. To. The transition. Team and so. President. Trump is going to have to come out and say something now I can tell you I've reached out to a whole host of White House officials, I asked. Mercy slap she's the strategic, communications, director. Effectively. Look what is your reaction to this breaking news she said I refer you to DOJ so she didn't. Have, any, immediate, response, to that right now they're sort of trying to brush aside questions of course we continue to look at our Twitter feed to get, the president's, reaction to all of this how has he typically responded, he, digs in you, raised the issue of Tom price Tom Price was under scrutiny under criticism for. Months before, ultimately he. Left this administration. And so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a similar approach but of course the stakes are different, because we are getting closer to, the midterms of course you had all of those warning, signs overnight, and the President himself right, now awaiting, whether to do an interview with Special Counsel Robert Muller we know that his team. Of lawyers is, poised to submit, a counterproposal, to Muller's, team's latest proposals so there's a lot that tagging, over this president, as he, tries to determine how to respond, to this latest controversy, Andrea, and, count. Me is skeptical, about any real, negotiations. Going on until we hear about it from the mother team because, we've heard so, many over, months and months and weeks and weeks now community Giuliani January, yeah right, and we. Only have it from one side and from, one part of one side which is not from the president self so, they're making it look as though the president really does want to cooperate and have, an interview but who. Knows, I'm totally. Unconvinced, about that so let me also bring in Daniel Goldman former, assistant. US attorney for the Southern District, of New York now an NBC News legal analyst, happily, and Daniel. You, know very well these kinds, of cases you've prosecuted, some of these very cases in that district, yes i prosecuted. A an insider trading case against the Las Vegas gambler. Billy Walters. Last, year, and that case was better known because Phil Mickelson was wrapped up in it though not charged, and, this. Is a powerful. Indictment and what, what you're seeing here related. To Chris Collins, is that. He is the insider. He is the guy who had, the information that, was supposed to be kept confidential he, was on the board of directors, of this company and as, soon as he gets the information that, is going to tank the stock which. Ultimately went down 92%. When the information, was made public he, related, to his son who, then related, to a whole host of other people all of whom were, owners, in this stock and all of whom sold, their, shares of stock or at least attempted to sell their shares of stock so. It's there's there's no Rick Gates type of cooperating, witness here it still remains to be seen who the witnesses, are what kind of evidence they have, it's. Hard I've been trying, to study the indictment, and figure out a little bit I think some of the people who are mentioned. As CeCe's, co-conspirators. Likely. Are cooperating. With the government and will testify, which could add, a whole nother wrinkle because there seem to be all family members but, this is a, in. Insider trading cases. What. You look for and I'll draw the analogy to the manta 4 case just because it's going on and we've been talking a lot about it and people have been talking about how it's a document, case in, insider.
Trading Cases the critical, documents. Are the records, of phone calls and the, records, of trades, and what, you see in this indictment is, incredibly. Closely. Timed. Calls. And trades, related. To information. I mean it alleges, basically, that. Representative. Collins, got, an email at 6:55. P.m. that. Informed. Him of the inside information and, by 7:10. P.m. he's. Trying to reach his son who, then immediately, tries, to make a trade, that is, documentary, evidence that, is very powerful and. In fact Daniel, what they are now saying there, is that six. Times he called his son six, times in five minutes, from the South Lawn of the White House from. The congressional picnic, yes, so that is incredibly. Detailed though, you obviously have the phone records and they've got the trading records so. To. Do, this and, you know calling from the White House grounds that sort of adds a very. Colorful. Shall we say political. Note. To all of this that can be very, persuasive one would think to a jury if. It ever gets to a jury we don't know how long no, the other question I would have is you, have such familiarity with this Daniel, how, long would it take with. Pretrial motions, and all the rest when would this come to trial before November, absolutely. Not no way it will go to trial before November, I would expect, I, don't know who the judge is a lot of it depends on how. Quickly judges, set trials, but, this won't go to trial until, 2019. You.