ALBANY — Prosecutors want former western New York Rep. Chris Collins to spend nearly 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to insider trading charges.
Meanwhile, a date for voters to pick his successor to the 27th District seat appears slated for April 28 — the same day the presidential primary is set to be held in New York.
The district, which stretches from the Buffalo area to the Rochester suburbs, including Livingston County, has been without a representative in the U.S. House since Collins resigned as part of his plea deal in October.
The events happened Monday as Collins, the Republican from Erie County, is set to be sentenced Friday in Manhattan.
He was accused of passing on an insider tip about a pharmaceutical company's failed drug trial, allowing his son and his son's future father-in-law to avoid $700,000 in losses because they sold off their stock before the situation became public.
Prosecutors said Monday that Collins should spend 57 months in federal prison. The sentencing guidelines call for 46 months to 57 months in prison.
"Collins’s decision to break the law while making the law — a decision that he made twice, ten months apart — was brazen," wrote Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
"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."
The U.S Probation Office recommended a year and a day in prison and a $200,000 fine, while Collins' lawyers want no prison time and instead probation and home confinement. Collins has moved to Florida since leaving office.
"He has shown extreme remorse and already paid dearly for his crimes," his lawyers wrote in a court filing last week. "He has resigned from Congress in disgrace."
Republicans, including state GOP chairman Nick Langworthy, have been in court trying to compel Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call a special election to fill Collins seat in a district that includes four counties — Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans — and parts of four others: Monroe, Ontario, Erie and Niagara.
On Monday, the case appeared to move toward resolution. The state Attorney General's Office, which is defending Cuomo in the case, indicated the Democratic governor is poised to announce April 28 as the election day.
Cuomo has indicated previously he was considering the presidential primary date as the election day to fill the remainder of Collins' term, which runs through the end of 2020.
He has voiced concern about the cost of holding the election on its own day.
In court on Monday in Rochester, the judge seems resigned to agree to the April 28 date, The Buffalo News reported.
"We're glad that the court saw Langworthy's suit as the petty, politically-motivated waste of time and money that it was," Cuomo senior advisor Rich Azzopardi said in a statement.
"The fact that the plaintiffs tried to weaponize the court, in order to saddle taxpayers with at least $1 million in extra costs, shows once and for all that they have zero claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility."
Langworthy said Cuomo has engaged in "partisan manipulation" of the congressional election.
"The actions of this Governor and Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat Party already sealed their fate in this election and we will retain this seat, regardless of what date it’s held,” he said in a statement.