UPDATE: Alice Marie Johnson has been granted clemency by Donald Trump, in a move that has seen the President pardon various other people, namely celebrities.
The list of pardons include former Bush administration senior official Scooter Libby, boxer Jack Johnson (posthumously) and conservative author Dinesh D'Souza. While Alice Marie Johnson's clemency is being widely celebrated, the spate of pardons is causing concern as Trump's use of the pardoning tool is being called into question.
Regardless of future problematic pardons, Alice's pardon means that she has finally been reunited with her family, a moment that was captured on camera as she left prison.
Kim Kardashian is reported to have made the call to Alice, tweeting her thanks to the President and the legal team behind the pardon.
On 1st June, we wrote...
Kim Kardashian West has turned her business savvy toward serving social justice, yesterday meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss prison reform. The reality stars met at the White House with Kim hoping to convince Trump to change the federal criminal justice system, notably to stop the practice of sentencing people to life without parole for non-violent offences.
The cause has become important to Kim after she heard the story of Alice Marie Johnson, a 62-year old great grandmother who has spent 21 years behind bars for a non-violent first-time drug offence. The face behind Kim’s mission, Alice was sentenced for her involvement in drug conspiracy, which she turned to in desperation after losing her management job of 10 years and couldn’t provide for her family.
Since she was tried in a federal court, which doesn’t offer parole, she received a life sentence and joined 3,278 people in the same position, 79% of which are non-violent drug offenders, 65% of whom are black. The system is clearly flawed, and Kim Kardashian has set out to change it, telling digital news company, Mic, that ‘there’s just something so wrong’ with the current process.
In meeting the President, she hopes Trump will grant Alice clemency, which would end her sentence, something only he can do according to current criminal justice rules. Of course, many are skeptical about her decision to meet Trump, especially given the recent support her husband, Kanye West, has shown the republican.
However, Kim spoke out about her motivation, and it seems completely isolated to her husband’s ambitions with the President. ‘To go and spend my money buying material things just doesn’t satisfy me the way that it used to,’ she told Mic, ‘I’m just in a different place in my life, so I thought “well if I could put the money into a shopping spree - which sounds ridiculous- to save someone’s life and do that once a year”, that would just make my heart fuller.’
While the entire situation does scream publicity stunt, it seems her motivations are pure, and that if anyone is capitalizing on the positive press it’s Donald Trump. Granting Alice clemency would be a notable way to one-up Barack Obama, who had the chance in 2016 when he pardoned 231 individuals but denied her application.
Whether or not Trump will use the opportunity with cynical motivations, the ultimate outcome would be a positive change in prison reform and a deserving woman free from a life behind bars. Authenticity in intention is important, but with Donald Trump as president, it may be time to accept that we have to disregard motivations as long as we’re getting a positive outcome.
Kim certainly has hope that the outcome of this will be, tweeting yesterday ‘we are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she —and so many like her—will get a second chance at life.’
In a second interview with Mic, she also claims '[Trump] really spent the time to listen to our case that we were making for Alice, he really understood and I am very hopeful that this will turn out really positively, I hope.'
However, it remains to be seen whether or not Trump agreed to grant Alice clemency. But, if we can count on anyone to master manipulate their way into getting what they want from the President, its Kris Jenner’s child...
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Kim Kardashian out and about 2012