The recommendation comes as Collins, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements in October, is set to be sentenced on Friday. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Collins, who was the first sitting congressman to support President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, resigned from Congress ahead of the guilty plea.
In a letter to a US district judge for the Southern District of New York on Monday, prosecutors said the requested sentence is “necessary to assure the public that those in power do not stand above the law.”
“It is critically important that the sentence imposed on Congressman Collins drive home the message that status does not constitute a basis for leniency,” prosecutors wrote. “Collins’s decision to break the law while making the law — a decision that he made twice, ten months apart — was brazen. A sentence at the top end of the Guidelines range is necessary to assure the public that those in power do not stand above the law.”
Collins and his co-defendants — his son and another man — had pleaded not guilty twice in the case, once after the original set of charges in August 2018 and a second time in September 2019 to the revised charges contained in what’s known as a superseding indictment.
Last week, Collins’ attorneys, Jonathan New and Jonathan Barr, sent a plea on his behalf asking for no jail time.
“He has resigned from Congress in disgrace. In light of Chris’ exemplary character, acceptance of responsibility, long history of community and public service, extensive record of charitable acts and the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities, we respectfully request that the Court impose a sentence of probation, with conditions requiring a significant term of home confinement, extensive community service, and the imposition of a substantial fine.”
Their filing touted Collins’ efforts to volunteer with the Boy Scouts and his achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Prosecutors responded: “The emphasis in Collins’s sentencing submission on his strong moral compass, including repeated reference to his membership in the Boy Scouts, only underscores that he was well positioned to know better. “