Trump grants pardon to Alice Johnson day after convention speech

President Trump on Friday signed a full pardon for Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for nonviolent offenses he had previously commuted.

“That means you can do whatever you want in life and just keep doing the great job you’re doing,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The pardon comes just one day after Trump accepted his party’s nomination from the South Lawn of the White House. 

Trump credited Johnson with highlighting the stories of others who have been harshly sentenced. 

Johnson fought back tears as she sat beside Trump. The two bowed their heads in prayer, and Trump did not take any questions before reporters were shuffled out of the room.

Johnson was convicted on drug and money laundering charges in 1996. Trump granted her clemency in June 2018 after she had served 21 years in prison.

She spoke on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, where she recounted her story of being given a life sentence despite being a first-time, nonviolent offender.

“When President Trump heard about me — about the injustice of my story — he saw me as a person. He had compassion. And he acted,” she said.

Trump intervened in Johnson’s case after it was brought to his attention by Kim Kardashian West. 

Johnson has since become an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform, and the White House has frequently cited her story when touting Trump’s record on the issue and his achievements for the African American community. Johnson previously attended Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address as a special guest.

The president’s media availability with Johnson was not previously listed on his public schedule. The brief interaction coincided with a massive protest just outside the White House on the National Mall in response to recent police killings and shootings of Black Americans and broader social injustice.

Tags Alice Johnson Black Americans Commuting of sentence Donald Trump Kim Kardashian Kim Kardashian West March on Washington social justice protests
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