SCRANTON -- Bob Mellow spent 40 years in the state senate, representing primarily Lackawanna County before pleading guilty to federal corruption and tax charges.
He was one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania's history, and his fall from grace was dramatic.
The former state senator gave his first television interview to Newswatch 16 investigative reporter Dave Bohman since his release from a Scranton halfway house more than two years ago
Since his release, Bob Mellow wrote a memoir called "Used, Abused, and Forgotten."
Mellow talked with us about his political career, his time behind bars, and his decision to plead guilty to federal charges, even though he still insists he never committed a crime.
"In my heart and in my mind, I will go to my deathbed knowing I did nothing wrong," said Mellow.
"When you look at statistics, they are so skewed against you, you have no chance," added Mellow, when asked why he didn't fight the charges.
Mellow says he was blindsided when FBI agents raided his home and office in Lackawanna County in 2010.
He eventually pleaded guilty to the federal charge of allowing staffers to perform campaign work on state time, a charge he calls unfair.
"There is no way, that in any public office you were elected to, that some kind of political activity is not taking place or discussion during the course of the daytime."
Mellow hoped he'd be sentenced to house arrest in November 2012 after he pleaded guilty to those charges.
A judge sentenced him to 16 months in federal prison.
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"I couldn't feel my own pulse. I couldn't believe this was happening to me."
Two months after he reported to a federal prison camp in South Carolina, Attorney General Kathleen Kane charged Mellow and seven others in a pay to play scheme involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
"I was then put on what was called 'diesel therapy,'" said Mellow, riding a diesel-powered prison bus between federal prisons.
After he was charged in the turnpike scheme, Mellow says he was labeled an escape risk and was moved on three occasions to more secure lockups.
"I was shackled. My hands had a lock box, which meant I could not move my hands, my hands were this way on a belly iron, so I had my hands in cuffs, with a lock box on them," said Mellow. "I was in a cage (while traveling on a bus)."
"I thought there were days that I would pray that the good Lord would take me. I would say, 'please, I just don't want to go through this any longer.'"
Mellow survived ten months in federal prisons. He was moved to a halfway house in Scranton in November 2013, and five months, later Bob Mellow was again a free man.
"And I'm a convicted felon, and if you're a convicted felon in our society in this country, you've been given a death sentence, yet you don't die."
After Mellow's release, a judge dismissed the state turnpike charges against him because of a lack of evidence.
But mellow learned his name was removed streets, buildings, even a park named after him in his hometown.
To this day, he says he's deep in debt with legal fees, stripped of his state pension, and abandoned by friends.
"Here is the one thing that hurts me: I have a lot to offer," Mellow said. "And I cannot use that experience and that knowledge that I have learned because I'm a convicted felon. And based on the fact that I'm a convicted felon, I'm not totally accepted by society. And that I regret."
Bob Mellow is appealing the decision to revoke his $11,000 a month state pension. He says the pension board did not apply the rules properly.
In the meantime, he and his wife of three years live off her income and his Social Security.