Trump grants Kardashian’s clemency plea

73 views

US President Trump has granted clemency to 63-year-old great grandmother Alice Johnson, who has been serving life in prison for a non-violent drug offense.

The case was highlighted last week when Kim Kardashian West met Mr Trump to lobby for her release.

The White House said she had been a model prisoner and worked hard to rehabilitate herself.

Johnson was jailed in 1996, with 15 others, for taking part in a cocaine distribution ring.

She was convicted on charges of attempted possession of drugs and money-laundering in Tennessee and is expected to be released soon.

Johnson met the criteria for former President Barack Obama’s Clemency Project 2014 but was turned down for release just days before the end of his term.

What did the White House say?

“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.

“Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates.”

The statement added that the administration believed in being tough on crime but believed in giving a second chance to those who tried to better themselves in prison.

How did Kim Kardashian get involved?

Kardashian West joined what has been a long-running campaign for Johnson’s freedom, spearheaded by the clemency foundation CAN-DO, friends and family.

She was first alerted to the issue after spotting a video about the case on social media.

Kardashian West visited the White House with her lawyer, Shawn Holley, and had also linked up with Mr Trump’s son-in-law and presidential adviser, Jared Kushner, who has been lobbying for prison reform.

In a tweet shortly after the White House announcement, Kardashian West described Alice Johnson’s clemency as inspirational.

Why the campaign for Alice Johnson’s release?

Family and supporters said Johnson had been a model inmate, whose activities included helping in the prison hospice.

Amy Povah, the founder of CAN-DO Clemency, said she had always stood out as “exceptional”.

“She’s not bitter or angry, she’s this ray of sunshine.”

Describing her crime, Johnson maintains she passed messages between sellers and buyers, and did not sell drugs.

In a piece written in 2016, she described how her life spiralled out of control after divorce and the death of her son in a motorbike accident.

“I made some very poor decisions out of desperation… to make ends meet.”