A former Republican Congressman pleads guilty to insider trading

(SOUNDBITE) GEOFFERY BERMAN, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SAYING: "Moments ago former New York Congressman Christopher Collins pled guilty to insider trading and to lying to the FBI to cover up his insider-trading scheme."

A four-term Republican Congressman and early backer of U.S. president Donald Trump pleaded guilty Tuesday in a criminal insider trading case.

Chris Collins entered his plea before a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, a day after submitting his letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(SOUNDBITE) HOUSE CLERK READING THE RESGINATION: "I hereby submit my resignation effective immediately, September 30, 2019, as United States representative of the 27th districts of New York."

(NATSOT) EX-REP. CHRIS COLLINS, (R-NY, 27TH DISTRICT) SAYING: " I have the honor of seconding the nomination of Donald J Trump..."

The 69-year old lawmaker was the first House member to endorse Trump for president.

Collins was arrested and indicted in August 2018 in a criminal case relating to Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics-- for which Collins sat on the board and held a nearly 17% stake.

Prosecutors allege that in 2017 - while at a congressional picnic at the White House - Collins learned in an email from Innate's chief executive that a clinical trial for its proposed multiple sclerosis drug had failed.

Collins quickly passed on the news to his son Cameron, according to prosecutors, who in turn told his fiancée and her parents.

(SOUNDBITE) GEOFFERY BERMAN, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SAYING: "Collins admitted to, among other things, illegally tipping his son while standing on the White House lawn. By virtue of his position, Collins helped write the laws of this country and acted as if the law didn't apply to him."

Collins did not trade his own Innate stock but prosecutors said others used the insider information to avoid more than $768,000 in losses when Innate's share price plunged 92% after news of the drug's failure became public.

Just 3 months after Collins was criminally charged, he narrowly won reelection last November over his Democratic rival.

A special election will be held to fill the seat.

Lawyers for Chris and Cameron Collins could not immediately be reached.