BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - Representative Chris Collins will return to the U.S. Capitol following his re-election win on Tuesday. But, there is a "black cloud" hanging over Collins' head as he serves NY's 27th congressional district in Washington.
The Congressman is facing insider trading charges and will go to trial in February of 2020. News 4's Dave Greber spoke to Collins on Thursday.
DG: These are still Republicans who voted for Donald Trump in the last election, but they could not bring themselves to vote for you.
CC: Oh, there's no question -- there are people that assume you are guilty until proven innocent, which is not America. I know the reality of that. And so, there is no doubt that's where I lost votes. I realize that. But my work ethic, and how I work when I get back in DC, will prove my statement I will be an effective legislator, no ifs and buts, full time and working for my constituents. They'll realize that some of the narrative that was portrayed by my opponent and supported by a liberal press and the Buffalo News was false...and my actions will prove they were false.
DG: Do you think and how do you think you can be effective with this, as you describe, black cloud hanging over your head?
CC: What I have to do now is compartmentalize my legal issue to defend myself in 2020. I have to compartmentalize because it is what it is and I know I'm innocent and I'm confident I will be exonerated, and stick it on the shelf. Will I think about it? Of course I will. It's not going to impact my day-to-day work, and I don't even meet with my attorneys 10 minutes a week, let alone two hours. They're doing what they're doing. The case has basically been stayed until 2020. So, yes, I've got this hanging over me, I do think about it. But it's not going to impact. In fact, it'll be good for me to be doing my job in D.C.
DG: So, for the next 15 months this will be out there. That's a lot of time, if you will, for that to be out there. In the event that you are offered a plea during the next 15 months, is that something that you would take?
CC: I don't believe that will happen.
DG: Why not?
CC: Well, I'm not going to get into my case, but I will have my day in court and it will be, if it stays as it is, I hope it doesn't get delayed, in 2020. But where we stand today, I will be in court.