BRIDGEPORT - Former Bridgeport state Sen. Ernie Newton is now a free man after serving a four-year prison sentence for corruption.

He signed out of the Chase Center Halfway House in Waterbury this morning to the applause of his family and friends.

Newton had recently been at his home under house arrest.

Newton pleaded guilty in 2005 to federal bribery and tax evasion charges in connection with taking money in exchange for state contracts.

"I'm grateful that I went in with my head up and came out with my head up," Newton says.

Newton adds that his top priority now is getting a job. He still must pay restitution in connection with the charges.

The former state senator says once the money is paid off, he will consider running for public office again.

For the complete Ernie Newton interview, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.