Trump commutes sentence of Alice Johnson
Change.org(WASHINGTON) — President Trump has commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother serving a life sentence on drug charges, whose cause was championed by reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, a White House official tells ABC News.
“Best News Ever!!” Kardashian tweeted of the news.
Kardashian lawyer Shawn Holley told ABC News: “I’m sobbing too many tears of joy and gratitude right now to offer a cogent statement. Kim and I are standing by to speak with Miss Alice now.”
A lawyer for Johnson did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
“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 in a statement announcing the commutation of her sentence.
“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 White House said in a statement.
Kardashian West personally advocated for a presidential pardon who, as a first-time offender, was given a mandatory life sentence plus 25 years in 1997 for her role in a cocaine distribution ring.
In a tweet last week, the president said he and Kardashian West talked about “prison reform and sentencing” during their recent visit in the Oval Office of the White House. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and advisor also met with West to discuss his efforts on prison reform.
Kardashian West, in an interview with Mic following that visit last week, said she felt the president listened to her concerns.
“I think that he really spent the time to listen to our case that we were making for Alice,” Kardashian West told Mic in an interview of her conversation with the president. “He really understood, and I am very hopeful that this will turn out really positively.”
“Alice Marie Johnson was convicted of a nonviolent drug offense in 1996 and received a sentence far too severe for the crime: life without the possibility of parole,” said Jennifer Turner of the ACLU in a statement. “I’m grateful to the president for allowing Alice to go home after 21.5 years in prison and to Kim Kardashian for her advocacy on Alice’s behalf.”
In a recent Skype interview, Tretessa Johnson told ABC News she was grateful that Kardashian West took an interest in her mother’s case.
“She could have just saw the video or read an article or whatever and just said oh that’s a shame or whatever and went on with her life, but she didn’t, she chose to get involved in a major way,” Johnson said of Kardashian.
The Johnson gathered letters of recommendations from her warden and members of Congress in their initial effort to seek clemency from President Barack Obama.
Trump is currently considering nearly a dozen appeals for clemency on top of the five formal pardons he has issued so far, White House officials tell ABC News.
Administration officials say the president is not only contemplating possible pardons – which wipes out a conviction – but also commutations, which leave the conviction intact and on the person’s record while reducing the punishment.
As clemency petitions work their way through the system, the president routinely denies the “vast majority” of requests, a White House official said. Recently the administration notified a group of 180 petitioners that they would not be granted presidential clemency, according to the Justice Department.
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