ORLANDO, Fla. - Local 6 spoke to former Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez for the first time since she was released from prison last week.
Fernandez stunned Central Florida in 2012 when she was caught on camera in an undercover video taking a bribe. She pleaded no contest to charges of accepting illegal campaign contributions from an undercover agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
"I thought it was checks with a contribution to campaign, that what you always think, especially when they tell you that this is a contribution to the campaign and you don't think anything else," Fernandez said. "That is all you think, but I never opened the envelope, it could have been paper and I didn't know. So that's what really shocked me because I could not understand what was going on."
But Fernandez told Local 6 on Tuesday that she did nothing wrong and that she has nothing to be remorseful of.
"Well, if you don't commit a crime, why should you show remorse?" she said. "In my view I did nothing wrong. I never considered myself an inmate. I considered this a journey to learn, and I was amazed of the waste of taxpayer money in prisons."
Fernandez was released from state prison last week. Fernandez and her attorney decided it was in her best interest to enter a no contest plea than risk a jury trial.
"I served time, that was a decision made, that was the decision, that's what I had to do," said Fernandez. "But I was one of those individuals that's incarcerated without committing a crime."
She said she did not realize what the undercover agent was giving her and that her arrest was politically motivated. When asked who she thinks was behind it, Fernandez said she didn't know and didn't want to talk about it.
Fernandez said she is not ruling out getting back into politics once her civil rights are restored, but wants to spend time with her grandchildren.
"I'm not going to say no," she said. "But at this moment, at this time, I'm thinking of other things. I think I can serve the community that I love in some other ways."
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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