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Collins kept professing his innocence until deciding to change plea

For more than a year, Rep. Chris Collins repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and accused news media organizations of spreading lies when they reported his ties to an insider trading scandal.

"I am innocent of the charges," Collins said in a rare news conference two months ago. "Why would I ever even enter a plea deal? I'm innocent. I’ve committed no crimes."

Collins has now resigned his seat in Congress and is expected to plead guilty Tuesday for his involvement in the insider trading scheme.

In August 2018, Collins and his son were charged with securities and wire fraud, conspiracy and lying to the FBI. They were arrested in connection with an alleged insider trading scheme involving Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech. A federal indictment revealed text messages, phone records and stock trades that prosecutors said showed Collins set off an insider trading scheme among his family and friends.

Since that time, he has professed his innocence to the media at least a dozen times.

"I am innocent, and I'm going to fight this right to the end in court, and I will be exonerated," he said in an interview with WIVB in September 2018.

"I am confident that I will be exonerated," he told WBEN radio that October.

Collins avoided news media whenever possible, criticized them when he couldn't, and even used his negative news coverage to generate campaign contributions from his supporters.

"Join us today and tell them we won't stand for their fake news," read one of at least two Collins fundraising messages.

With rare exceptions, he refused to speak with reporters from The Buffalo News and other news outlets.

In February 2017, he told WGRZ that the New York Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal and The Buffalo News published "not a shred of truth" and were "no longer legitimate news agencies" because they printed "outright lies, fabrications, distortions."

When asked who in the media was still legitimate, he couldn't name any.

"They get a bug up their you-know-what, and they just come at you," he told WGRZ anchor Scott Levin.

On election night last November, Collins stated that his campaign strategy to avoid local news media was rewarded by his re-election to office.

"I am innocent until proven guilty even though the press convicted me, dismembered me and burned me at the stake," he told a group of reporters. "If you read the 'fake' Buffalo News, you will see report after report. You would think they are on my opponent's payroll."

When asked by reporters on election night if he would serve his full term in light of his circumstances, he told reporters, "The thought that I would not fulfill my term is crazy."

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