Former Rep. Michael Grimm has been released from prison. He spoke exclusively Friday with NY1's Amanda Farinacci just a week after his return home.
Former Rep. Michael Grimm walked out of his Staten Island home Friday, but he's not yet a free man.
Grimm was released from federal prison April 27 to serve three more weeks under house arrest.
He wears an ankle bracelet, and needed permission from his parole officer just to step outside to talk to NY1.
But to Grimm, it's all better than the seven months he just spent behind bars.
"It's been very challenging, to say the least. It's a horrible experience. I wouldn't wish it on my enemies. But it's over. I'm really glad to be putting it past me," he said.
Grimm pleaded guilty in December 2014 to one count of felony tax fraud related to a restaurant he owned when he was elected to Congress in 2010. He resigned from Congress in early 2015 and entered prison last September.
He says, understandably, that his time at the Federal Correctional Institution in McKean, outside of Pittsburgh, ranks as one of the worst experiences of his life.
But the former FBI agent and marine veteran struck a defiant note about the conduct that led him there.
"I don't think there's anything that I've ever done that I would say I'm really ashamed of," he said. "Did I have a couple people off the books? Yeah. So does a lot of people. It's not the end of the world. It's something I put behind me and will move on."
Grimm passed his days in prison reading, exercising and corresponding with the more than 500 residents he says sent him letters of support.
He says he began writing a book about his life and thinking about the correctional system, something he says badly needs reform.
"Maybe God's purpose in having me go through this horrible experience was to realize just how broken our justice system is. And maybe I can be a good advocate in the future to reform it," he said.
While Grimm says his plans for the future are still unclear, he says he hasn't ruled out a return to politics.
Grimm: I can't ever see myself not, in some capacity, serving the community, whether it's as a volunteer, or as in office again. So I really don't know yet.
Farinacci: Not off the table?
Grimm: Nothing's off the table.
First, he has to perform 200 hours of community service, and find a job to help pay his legal fees and $140,000 in court-ordered restitution.