PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Former Newport News Delegate Phil Hamilton checked into a Newport News halfway house on Thursday after spending 7 years, 9 months, and 8 days in prison.
10 On Your Side was with Hamilton just before he was sentenced to over nine years for bribery and extortion in securing funding for an Old Dominion University education program, and then taking a salary to run it.
He filed a bill to create an educational program at Old Dominion University, and then got a paid position in exchange for the legislation that funded it.
Hamilton’s daughter Meredith Archer said in a statment Thursday his sentence doesn’t end until Dec. 27, so he’ll spend the last six months of that time under home confinement.
“I went into this whole thing saying they can take away my physical freedom, but not my mind, my heart, and not my soul.” The sad tears of 2011 replaced with happy tears today.
Hamilton has always maintained his innocence. “And there was another part to this, I wasn’t going to let them break me. I was not going to let them win, and if I had become defeated and depressed then they would have won.”
His two children picked up Hamilton from a Pennsylvania prison. Both children overjoyed to have their father home. “There are no words. This is the best day of my life,” said Hamilton’s daughter Meredith Archer, who has been a visible supporter for her father doing everything she could to gain his freedom.
“Daddy, is home,” said Hamilton’s son Brandon.” It is definitely uplifts our faith. He’s the patriarch of the family and taught us to live in service to others as best we can, and he continued to do that even in there. It was inspiring to watch.”
They checked their father into a halfway house and he will be in until Tuesday. He will then go live with daughter Meredith. “I am not different. The man I am today is the same man I was when I went in, except I have a stronger appreciation for family and friends.”
Archer added that she anticipates the home confinement will wrap up in September because of Hamilton’s good behavior.
In the end, Phil Hamilton knows what’s important: family, friends and freedom.