Former House Speaker Boehner asks judge to go easy on corrupt congressman 'friend'

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Several current Republican lawmakers also wrote letters defending the character of ex-Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges.

Republican former House Speaker John Boehner, who once said that members of Congress "should be held to the highest ethical standard," wrote to a federal judge to defend the integrity of a corrupt former colleague and political ally. Boehner praised ex-Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) — who resigned in disgrace last year as he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to lying federal investigators — as a "good man who loves his family and his country."

Facing an already unusually low recommended sentence of just over one year in jail, Collins has sought to avoid jail time all together for his insider-trading scandal. On Tuesday, his defense team filed character testimonial letters from Boehner, Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Peter King (R-NY), and Tom Reed (R-NY), other former colleagues, and family and friends.

In his letter, Boehner cited Collins' political support for him as evidence of his "loyalty" and "courage."

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"Chris was my friend at times when he didn't have to be my friend," the Ohio Republican wrote, "and I'm sure he took some political heat for supporting me as Speaker at a time when supporting me wasn't popular."

Boehner resigned midway through his term in 2015 after members of the far-right Freedom Caucus threatened to oust him.

In his own letter, Rep. King wrote that while has not trying to minimize Collins' "error in judgment," he hoped the judge would "take into account his many positive contributions in public life and the genuine respect he has earned and the high regard in which he is held by those who have worked with him and know him well."

Collins and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) were famously the first two members of the House of Representatives to endorse Donald Trump in 2016. Hunter, who also pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges late last year, announced Tuesday that he too will resign his seat.

A judge is due to sentence Collins on Jan. 17.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.