Former Rep. Chris Collins, who was sentenced to over two years in federal prison for insider trading and lying to the FBI, is asking Judge Vernon S. Broderick to push his report date back to Oct. 13, marking the fourth time the New York Republican has asked to delay his reporting date amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Collins, 70, was originally scheduled to report to FPC Pensacola in Florida on March 17. However, a processing lag with the Bureau of Prisons delayed that date to April and then the health crisis provided an avenue for Collins to request subsequent delays.
He is currently set to report to the minimum-security prison camp on Aug. 18, a nine-hour drive from his San Marco Island home, where he counts among his neighbors former Speaker John A. Boehner.
Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president. Trump has been downplaying the toll the coronavirus has taken on the country, but lawyers for his earliest congressional supporter argue the worsening nature of the virus domestically — a death tally of more than 155,000 American lives lost and 4.7 million confirmed cases — is a strong reason to keep Collins, a senior citizen, out of the prison system until later.
Collins’ lawyer, Jonathan B. New of BakerHostetler, noted in a statement to the court that the prison system has endured 106 inmate deaths due to COVID-19 and tallied over 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. New said these figures are “almost certainly underreported.”
“The situation has continued to deteriorate,” he wrote.
Collins resigned his House seat in Western New York last fall ahead of a plea hearing. Republican Chris Jacobs won a special election in June to replace him in the 27th District outside Buffalo.