Trump commutes sentence of Memphian Alice Marie Johnson

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender, two White House officials told CNN, a week after Kim Kardashian West pleaded her case during an Oval Office meeting with Trump.

Johnson has already served 21 years of a life sentence after she was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, according to the nonprofit Can-Do, which advocates for clemency for non-violent drug offenders.

She is expected to be released from prison soon.

Kardashian West hailed the commutation, tweeting, “BEST NEWS EVER!!!!”

Johnson’s commutation is the sixth act of clemency Trump has issued since taking office, and the second granted by Trump after a celebrity appealed to him. Last month, Trump posthumously pardoned the boxer Jack Johnson after the actor Sylvester Stallone raised his case with the President.

Trump has pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, and Kristian Saucier, a Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to an unauthorized possession of classified information who argued he was held to a different standard than Hillary Clinton.

Trump and Kardashian West met with Trump in the Oval Office last Wednesday after she first reached out to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump to help set up the meeting. Jared Kushner has been leading a push on prison reform as part of his portfolio as a senior adviser to the President.

“I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense,” Kardashian West said in a statement after meeting with Trump. “We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she — and so many like her — will get a second chance at life.”

U. S. Attorney Michael Dunavant released a statement saying, “As United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and to faithfully execute and enforce the laws of Congress. Included in our Constitution is the absolute power and authority of the President to grant Executive Clemency relief, and I understand and respect the President’s decision to grant a commutation of Ms. Johnson’s sentence.” 

He goes on to say that, “Vigorous and consistent federal prosecution of violations of the Controlled Substances Act, including major drug trafficking organizations and money laundering schemes, are a top priority of this office and the Department of Justice, and we will continue to promote public safety and enforce the rule of law in the Western District of Tennessee by aggressively pursuing such cases.”