Disgraced Rep. Christopher Collins has begged his pals to pen glowing letters to in a bid for leniency ahead of his sentencing on insider-trading charges, according to a new report.
The GOP congressman-turned-criminal sent an email to his inner circle Monday asking them to write to Manhattan federal court Judge Vernon Broderick, the Buffalo News reported.
“It is important for us to get letters of support from those who know me best and can attest to my character and years of service and accomplishments,” Collins wrote in the email obtained by the upstate outlet.
But his worst critics are planning to flood the court with letters, too.
“There was something going around Citizens Against Collins [Sunday] with regards to this, with the address of the judge, asking people to write letters, saying … how we were just as without representation then (with Collins in Congress) as we are now,” Michelle Schoeneman, who co-founded the 3,500-member group Citizens Against Collins, told the Buffalo News.
But she was dubious as to how much weight the letters from her and other constituents from New York’s 27th congressional district, which encompasses parts of Buffalo and Rochester, will carry.
“He will pay his debt to society through his prison time, but he will never be able to pay for the damage he did to NY-27 through poor and absentee leadership,” Schoeneman said.
Last week, Collins, 69, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of insider trading for tipping off his son, Cameron, about a failed drug trial. Cameron, in turn, dumped his stocks in the company, Immunotherapeutics, and urged his the father of his then-fiancée to do the same.
In his email, the longtime lawmaker — who has since resigned from Congress — explained that he’s currently living in Florida “for a while as the press settles down and moves on.”
“I feel like I’ve let everyone down, but our decision to plead guilty is the right decision for Cameron and the family,” Chris wrote.
Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Chris serve between 46 to 57 months at his Jan. 17 sentencing. He also faces a $250,000 fine on each count.
Cameron, 26, also pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Chris’ plea to his friends also included tips from his lawyer on letter-writing.
“Make it personal,” the note from the BakerHostetler law firm said. “Consider writing about one or two anecdotal experiences or examples that highlight the defendant’s positive traits, charitable work, good deeds, community service, generosity, moral character, honesty, work ethic, or dedication to family and community, etc.”
“Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think could be helpful,” Chris added in his email.