(CBS Miami)– Fort Lauderdale resident and longtime conservative strategist Roger Stone is a free man after President Donald J. Trump commuted his 40 month prison sentence last week.

Stone had been sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

On Monday, Stone gave his first national TV interview and described what the whole experience has been like for him.

“This is the most horrible experience you can have because I see why 99% of the people who choose to plead not guilty and go to trial lose,” said Stone in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “When you’re up against the horrific and deep-pocketed resources of the federal government and these really sadistic and arrogant and politically motivated prosecutors. I had a biased judge and a stacked jury. When you go through something like this, you find out who your real friends are. I really want to thank God because I was hours away from being sent to a COVID-19 infested prison.”

Stone has been a longtime friend of President Trump and reiterated in the interview that there was no Russian collusion with regards to the 2016 election. The political strategist thanked the 45th President for commuting his sentence.

“There was no circumstance under which I would bare false witness against the president,” said Stone. “I was just not willing to lie. What I said has been consistent. I would not lie against my friend of 40 years, so they could use it for impeachment. They wanted me to be the ham in their ham sandwich because they knew the Mueller Report, particularly on Russia was a dud. Above all, the most important thing is the courageousness of the president’s act. I know there were many people in an election year who told him don’t do this. I have deep, deep affection for Donald Trump because I’ve known him for 40 years. He’s a man of great justice, fairness and enormous courage.”

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