First-time drug offender, Alice Marie Johnson, has been granted a full pardon from the US President Donald Trump, two years after he commuted her prison sentence.
Trump said the pardon has been granted considering her great work since her commutation in 2018. “We’re giving Alice a full pardon. I just told her,” Trump said in the Oval Office alongside Johnson. “That means you can do whatever you want in life. Just keep doing the great job you’re doing. Alice has done an incredible job since she’s been out, and recommending other people” to grant clemency.
Johnson was a a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Her case was brought to light by Kim Kardashian West in 2018 as she pleaded Johnson’s case in front of Trump.
She was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, after serving 21 years in prison.
Since her commutation, Johnson has been acting as a criminal justice reform advocate, and has received praises from several well-known people, such as Trump. Johnson was also spotted at the recently-concluded Republican National Convention, where she told her story and thanked Trump for signing a criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, into law.
“It was real justice reform,” Johnson said of the First Step Act. “And it brought joy, hope and freedom to thousands of well-deserving people. I hollered, ‘Hallelujah!’ My faith in justice and mercy was rewarded. Imagine getting to hug your loved ones again. It’s a feeling I will never forget. And to think, this first step meant so much to so many.”
Johnson, however claims she was completely unaware of her upcoming pardon. “I had idea. None. It’s almost like déjà vu from two years ago. When I woke up that morning I didn’t know that would be my last day in prison,” she said.
Since the pardo, Johnson has been vocal about her support for Trump in the upcoming elections. “You know, of course I support him as a president and last night I didn’t have a right to vote. And I still haven’t registered to vote. So, I thought it would have been a little bit hypocritical of me to not be able to vote and then say I’m endorsing,” she said.
“But for me this is not about politics. This is about people and I try to really stay focused on what my mission is,” she added. “This really is not a partisan issue, criminal justice reform. It’s something that reaches across the aisle.”
Johnson is the second person to have been pardoned in the last one week. Jon Ponder, who used his time after prison for robbing a bank to create a reintegration program for former inmates, was also pardoned by Trump this week. Ponder’s pardoning was broadcasted at the RNC.