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26 questions and hundreds of pages of letters. What the judge sentencing Chris Collins is looking at

Collins will be sentenced Friday in NYC
Posted at 11:40 PM, Jan 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Former Congressman Chris Collins will be sentenced on Friday in Manhattan. United States District Court Judge Vernon Broderick will have a lot to consider, including answers to six pages of questions he asked attorneys.

Former State Supreme Court Judge Penny Wolfgang said Judge Broderick is using the questions to learn information that likely would've come out in a trial. Collins pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, so the case did not go to trial.

"He's looking at the crime, a lot of the elements of the crime that did not come out in the plea proceedings," Wolfgang said.

Wolfgang said the judge is also looking at intent. She pointed the last of the 26 questions the judge posed:

How can the argument that Defendant Collins committed an emotional and impulsove act on June 22, 2017 be reconciled with his lying to law enforcement approximately ten months later?
Question asked by Judge Vernon Broderick

In letters submitted to the judge, Collins' former constituents wrote they felt "betrayed," and that Collins needed to be taught a lesson, and opposed Collins' request for leniency.

Collins' family, the CEO of Frey Electric, and former Speaker of the House John Boehner were among the many who wrote letters supporting Collins, and suggested he received leniency. Boehner wrote, "He is a person of loyalty, and courage."

Wolfgang said the over 100 pages of letters could have a significant impact.

"They had a large effect on how I thought when I was sentencing anybody," she said. "I really, really paid attention to the input that I got."

The probation office recommends Collins goes to prison for a year and a day. Wolfgang said he might be made an example of with a harsher sentence. The maximum sentence he could receive is four years and nine months.

Anchor/Reporter Ed Drantch will be in court for Friday's sentencing hearing. Follow @wkbw and @eddrantch for details as they emerge.