Jun 6, 2018

Scoop: Trump has commuted Alice Johnson’s life sentence

Kim Kardashian West championed Alice Johnson's cause at the White House last week. Photo: The White House

President Trump has signed a commutation for Alice Johnson, currently serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, according to a source with direct knowledge. The Washington Post first reported last night that he had been considering pardoning Johnson.

The details: Johnson's cause was championed last week at the White House by Kim Kardashian West. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who pushed for Johnson's pardon, had been in contact with Kardashian West over the past several months on the issue. Per a source familiar, White House counsel Don McGahn is skeptical of the merits of pardoning Johnson.

The big picture: This is part of a broader effort led by Jared Kushner to highlight the issue of prison reform — particularly focused on nonviolent offenders.

More about Johnson's crime, per Mic, who first reported on Kardashian West's conversations with Kushner: “Johnson was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 1996 for her role facilitating communications in a cocaine trafficking operation in Memphis, Tennessee.”

  • “Johnson told Mic that she initially became involved in drug trafficking due to significant financial hardship after a string of unfortunate events in her life. She lost her job at FedEx due to a gambling addiction, her son was killed in a motorcycle accident and her marriage ended in divorce.”

The context: Trump has been on a high-profile clemency spree, issuing several pardons, including former sheriff Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby, Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, boxing champion Jack Johnson, and right-wing pundit Dinesh D'Souza.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Johnson's sentence was commuted — rather than receiving a full pardon.

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