Trump commutes life sentence of grandmother after Kardashian visit

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Kim Kardashian Donald Trump Alice Marie Johnson Presidential Pardon
US President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of a 63-year-old great-grandmother who was serving life in prison for a non-violent drug offence, after Hollywood socialite Kim Kardashian lobbied on the woman's behalf last week.PIX: SMG/dpa

US President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of a 63-year-old great-grandmother who was serving life in prison for a non-violent drug offence, after Hollywood socialite Kim Kardashian lobbied on the woman’s behalf last week.

“I’m just so thankful, I feel like my life is starting over again,” Alice Marie Johnson told local media in Alabama as she was released just hours after the president’s decision.

Video footage showed her, dressed in white, running from a van to be reunited with her friends and family, who greeted her with flowers and hugs.

Johnson served almost 22 years in prison for a first-time drug offence. She says she got involved in the cocaine trafficking conspiracy as she fell on hard times financially.

Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behaviour 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 said, adding that those who changed themselves for the better behind bars “deserve a second chance.”

In response to the decision, Kardashian, who met Trump last week, tweeted that it was the “BEST NEWS EVER!!!” She went on to say: “Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.”

The non-profit legal advocacy group American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the decision and urged Trump to do the same for other inmates serving severe sentences for non-violent offences.

The commutation – which simply reduces a sentence, unlike a pardon – is the latest in a series of similar moves issued by Trump since he took office.

He recently pardoned conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, and granted a posthumous pardon to the long-deceased boxer Jack Johnson. The boxer’s pardon came after an intervention from Sylvester Stallone, the actor of Rocky fame.

Trump has also said that he is considering a pardon for lifestyle guru and TV personality Martha Stewart, who served a five-month jail term after a conviction in 2004 over conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements to federal investigators over a stock trade. -DPA

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