The two sides in the criminal case against Rep. Chris Collins won't meet in court again until September under a schedule laid out late Monday by the judge presiding in the case.
In a court order, U.S. District Court Judge Vernon S. Broderick scheduled hearings on the evidence in the case for Sept. 5 and 6 – if those hearings proved to be necessary.
Prior to that, though, prosecutors and defense lawyers will face a series of deadlines in the case against Collins, a Clarence Republican who is charged with fraud, conspiracy and lying to the FBI in an alleged insider stock trading scheme. Collins' son, Cameron, and Cameron Collins' prospective father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky, face similar charges.
Prosecutors and the defense team have until Jan. 17 to produce a joint letter detailing the status of outstanding issues in the case, including the production of documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed joint civil charges against Collins and the other defendants. Broderick said he expects the lawyers on the two sides to propose a schedule for motions in the case by Jan. 17 as well.
The Collins legal team will then have until Feb. 8 to file their motion regarding what evidence it wants to obtain from prosecutors. Broderick wrote that he expects that motion to address the defense's argument that the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause – which is intended to protect lawmakers from improper arrest – may have been violated in the case against Collins.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan then will have until March 8 to respond to the defense team's motion, and the defense team will then have until March 22 to reply to the prosecution's court filing.
Broderick's court order offered no explanation for the gap of nearly six months between the last of those deadlines and the proposed court hearings on the evidence, which will only take place if there are remaining issues between the two sides about what evidence can be used in the criminal trial in the case.
But at an October 2018 court hearing, the defense team argued that it needed this year's summer months to prepare its case. Broderick, citing the fact that he has to preside over another trial in the fall, then scheduled the trial in the Collins case to start Feb. 3, 2020.
Collins was arrested in August 2018. Prosecutors say that while attending a White House picnic in June 2017, Collins an email with inside information about failed drug tests at Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech where Collins served on the board. Collins then called his son and, according to prosecutors, told him the bad news, prompting Cameron Collins to dump his Innate stock and tell his prospective father-in-law, Zarsky, to do the same.
All three men deny any wrongdoing and say they will prove their innocence in court.
Last November, Collins narrowly won re-election in New York's heavily Republican 27th Congressional District despite the charges against him. But the new Democrat-controlled House last week passed a series of internal rules that will bar Collins from serving on congressional committees pending his trial, and that bar all lawmakers from serving on the boards of publicly traded companies.