Trump grants clemency to woman after Kim Kardashian West pressed her case
President Trump granted clemency on Wednesday for Alice Marie Johnson, a 62-year-old great-grandmother serving a life sentence on nonviolent drug and money laundering charges.
“Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades,” the White House said in a statement. “While this administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.”
Last week, Kim Kardashian West was at the White House to ask Trump to pardon Johnson.
Kardashian West also reportedly discussed Johnson with White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who is leading a push for prison sentencing reform.
After the meeting last week, Kardashian West told Mic that Trump “really spent the time to listen to our case that we were making for Alice. He really understood, and I am very hopeful that this will turn out really positively.”
“BEST NEWS EVER!!!!” Kardashian West tweeted in response to the news.
“So grateful to @realDonaldTrump, Jared Kushner & to everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson,” she continued. “Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.”
The White House said Johnson’s warden, case manager and vocational training instructor all wrote letters supporting Johnson’s clemency and speaking to her rehabilitation while in prison.
In a statement Wednesday, Brittany Barnett, a member of Johnson’s legal team thanked Trump, saying he had corrected an injustice.
“Justice has been served today, and it’s long overdue,” she said. “Alice has more than paid her debt to society by serving over 21 years of a life-without-parole sentence as a nonviolent drug offender. Life in prison without the possibility of parole screams that a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. And in Alice’s case, it is a punishment that absolutely did not fit the crime.”
Trump’s action comes after CNN reported that Trump was considering a dozen new pardons on Wednesday. Axios and The Washington Post reported internal conflict at the White House over whether Johnson’s case merited a pardon, with White House counsel Don McGahn reportedly skeptical.
Johnson had been convicted for her role in helping with communication in a cocaine trafficking operation.
She had been expected to be released in December 2016, when former President Obama granted clemency to 231 people, but was passed over.
Johnson had told Mic in an op-ed video that her fate now rested in Trump’s hands. Kardashian West said she was inspired by the video to help facilitate Johnson’s release.
–Updated at 3:27 p.m.