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Man wrongfully jailed for 18 years celebrates this Christmas with $4.75 million settlement

Fernando Bermudez walks with his wife Crystal, left, near the Federal Court House in White Plains, N.Y. Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Bermudez, who was released from Sing Sing prison in Ossining, N.Y. earlier today, walked free after a Manhattan judge last week overturned Bermudez's 1992 conviction, saying it stemmed from false and unreliable witness testimony. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Fernando Bermudez walks with his wife Crystal, left, near the Federal Court House in White Plains, N.Y. Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Bermudez, who was released from Sing Sing prison in Ossining, N.Y. earlier today, walked free after a Manhattan judge last week overturned Bermudez's 1992 conviction, saying it stemmed from false and unreliable witness testimony. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)  (AP2009)

A New York City man imprisoned for nearly two decades for murder before a judge declared he was innocent is getting $4.75 million from the state.

Fernando Bermudez, now 41, had his sentence overturned in 2009 when a judge ruled that the police and prosecutors had used perjured testimony and illegal identification. 

"Of course, the settlement will never erase the injustice that I experienced as an innocent man in prison for 18 and a half years,” told the New York Post in a statement published Tuesday.

Bermudez' conviction was thrown out in 2009, with a judge saying he had "demonstrated his actual innocence." He'd been convicted in 1992 of shooting 16-year-old Raymond Blount outside a Manhattan nightspot after getting into a fight with another teen inside the club the year before.

Several eyewitnesses identified him Bermudez, even though friends of his testified he was miles away at the time of the crime.

A year after his conviction, five witnesses who had identified him as the killer recanted their testimony, saying police officers pressured them into naming Bermudez.

The man was 21 at the time.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office says he's "committed to ensuring that those who are wrongfully convicted are compensated."

In a 2011 interview with CBS Radio that adjusting to everyday life had not been easy.

"The technology has been so great that I've been overwhelmed by that alone. Not only that, just adjusting to life as a free person in terms of dealing with the anxiety," Bermudez said.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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