Trump Commutes Alice Marie Johnson's Life Sentence for Nonviolent Drug Offense

Johnson's request for clemency was championed by reality TV star Kim Kardashian West

President Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian West / Getty Images
June 6, 2018

President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted Alice Marie Johnson's life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, a cause championed by Kim Kardashian West.

Kardashian West reacted to the news by thanking Trump, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and "everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson."

"So grateful to @realDonaldTrump, Jared Kushner & to everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson. Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance," she tweeted.

"I hope to continue this important work by working together with organizations who have been fighting this fight for much longer than I have and deserve the recognition," Kardashian West added.

Kardashian West visited the White House last week to discuss prison reform and to brief the administration on the Johnson case. Prior to her visit, she had been in contact with Kushner about the issue, according to Axios. While Kushner was pushing for the pardon, Trump's White House counsel Don McGahn was reportedly skeptical about the decision having merit, according to a source.

The White House released a statement praising Johnson for "accepting responsibility for her past behavior" and being a "model prisoner."

"Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades. Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates," the White House said.

"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," the administration added.

Back in October, Johnson, 63, told Mic her story and how she initially got involved in drug trafficking due to financial hardships. She detailed how she lost her job at FedEx due to gambling addiction, she lost a son in a motorcycle accident, and then her marriage ended in divorce.

"I went into a complete panic and out of desperation, I made one of the worst decisions of my life to make some quick money," Johnson said.

After her interview with Mic reached over 8 million people, Kardashian West reached out to Johnson's lawyer, Shawn Holley, and expressed her desire to help bring attention to Johnson's case. Johnson was hopeful then-President Barack Obama would grant her clemency in December 2016 since he was doing so for 231 individuals, many who were convicted of drug-related charges.

"When the criteria came out for clemency, I thought for sure — in fact, I was certain that I’d met and exceeded all of the criteria," Johnson told Mic in October. "Oh my goodness, I had so much support."

CNN reported Johnson has already "served 21 years of her life sentence after she was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine."

While many people praised Kardashian West for her passion on prison reform and willingness to meet with Trump, CNN reporter Jim Acosta slammed her visit and said she shouldn't be at the White House.

"Forget about the fact that Kim Kardashian is here at the White House today and what planet that is anything resembling normal because it's not. She shouldn't be here talking about prison reform. It's very nice that she is here but that's not a serious thing to have happen here at the White House."