Alice Marie Johnson was overjoyed when Kim Kardashian called her to share the news that President Donald Trump had agreed to commute the great-grandmother's life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense.
This combination photo shows President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pa., on March 10, 2018, left, and Kim Kardashian West at the NBCUniversal Network 2017 Upfront in NY on May 15, 2017. The 63-year old more than two decades behind bars and is not eligible for parole.
Kardashian-West has reacted to Trump's decision on Twitter. This use of executive power is taking place against the backdrop of the Russian Federation investigation that hangs over his presidency.
Kim also thanked Trump, Kushner and everyone who showed compassion and contributed countless hours.
"I think that she really deserves a second chance at life", Kardashian told Mic.
This move comes amid a flurry of pardons issued by Trump, with some speculating that the president seems particularly drawn to causes advocated by conservatives, celebrities and/or contestants who have appeared on his former reality show, "The Apprentice". Indeed, Trump has called for getting tougher on drug dealers, including suggesting some should receive the death penalty.
She was convicted for facilitating communications in a cocaine trafficking operation in Memphis, Tennessee and was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The official said the Justice Department denied her petition because prosecutors maintain Johnson was involved in a drug cartel that was connected to violence and crime. The only reason Johnson's story came to Kardashian's attention is thanks to the availability of videoconferencing in Johnson's prison.
She was sentenced to life in prison in 1997, and appellate judges and the U.S. Supreme Court have rejected her appeals.
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The U.S. attorney's office in Memphis did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The Johnson gathered letters of recommendations from her warden and members of Congress in their initial effort to seek clemency from President Barack Obama. "I'm free to hug my family", she said.
"What is the goal of putting a lady with no prior criminal record, on a nonviolent drug offense, in jail for her entire life?" he said in a telephone interview. "Since being incarcerated she has been a model prisoner who mentors women and has become an ordained minister", she wrote.
The president has also signaled that he could similarly favor lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, who went to jail for making false statements in an insider trading case, and commute the prison sentence of Rod Blagojevich, a former governor of IL convicted of corruption.
This is the sixth act of clemency President Trump has issued since taking office. "He takes them seriously because they impact people's lives". She also met with Trump in the Oval Office, a photograph of which the president posted on Twitter.
Unlike a pardon, the commutation will not erase Johnson's conviction, only end her sentence. "I promise I will not let you down", Johnson said in an Associated Press interview.
Trump recently pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who was convicted of a campaign finance violation.
Jack Johnson received a rare posthumous pardon last month, after another actor - Sylvester Stallone of Rocky fame - championed his case.
"I trust and hope and ask to President Trump to pardon him", Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos told Trump's favorite network.