Trump pardons former Congressman Chris Collins

New York State

(WIVB) — UPDATE: The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Collins was released on Tuesday.

ORIGINAL: President Donald Trump has issued 15 pardons, one of them being for former Congressman Chris Collins.

Collins’ used to represent New York’s 27th Congressional District and it was just more than two months ago that he surrendered to a federal prison to begin serving a 26-month prison sentence following his guilty plea on conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI charges.

In a release, the White House Press Secretary said this pardon was granted at the request of many members of congress. Collins pleaded guilty to charges last year, as did his son Cameron Collins and his son’s father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky,  admitting he illegally gave his son an inside tip about a drug trial.

Federal prosecutors said that tip allowed his son Cameron to save more than a half-million dollars in losses. When he made that guilty plea last year, collins resigned from congress. He said he knew what he did was illegal and he regretted his actions.

Collins was among the president’s earliest supporters, endorsing him in his 2016 run and now this pardon.

Cheryl Myers Buth has analyzed the Collins case for News 4.

“Regardless of political affiliation, you could look back to President Clinton and his controversial pardon of Marc Rich. You could say that this was something similar. But certainly, to a lot of people they look at this and say there are two systems of justice. One for everybody else and one for the wealthy friends of the president.”

Tuesday, Erie County’s Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner denounced this pardon.
He said as part of a statement quote- “If anyone needs a reminder as to why Erie County voted resoundingly for Joe Biden, this is it.”

“Donald Trump raised taxes on Western New Yorkers so he could cut them for the wealthy. He tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip health care from our hard-working families and now Donald Trump has taken away the justice that was delivered by a court of law after Chris Collins betrayed the trust of the people in NY-27.”

Collins has been serving his time at a facility in Pensacola Florida. His release date was listed as August 2022. We don’t know if he’s been released yet, but Buth says it’s possible.
His attorneys had not responded to our request for comment Tuesday night.

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