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A grandmother serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense was pardoned by President Donald Trump on Wednesday, one week after Kim Kardashian West pushed him to free her.
Alice Johnson, 63, is expected to be released soon after serving more than two decades behind bars.
"Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior 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."
Kardashian visited the White House in May to push prison reform with an emphasis on pardoning Johnson.
The reality star took to Twitter to celebrate the news, writing, “BEST NEWS EVER!!!!”
Johnson was indicted in 1994 for being part of a Memphis trafficking operation, along with over a dozen others. She was convicted in 1996 for conspiracy to possess cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine and money laundering and sentenced one year later to life without a chance of parole. She has now spent a third of her life behind bars and is being held at a federal facility in Aliceville, Alabama.
“My role was telephone mule,” she said in a talk to Yale Law School in 2016 via video conference from prison. Johnson never sold, manufactured or trafficked any drugs, according to the New Haven Independent in Connecticut, which reported on her talk at Yale.
Johnson is a great-grandmother who has never met her grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
The CAN-DO Foundation, a criminal justice advocacy group, said former President Barack Obama rejected clemency requests for Johnson without explanation.
Kardashian asked her personal lawyer, Shawn Holley, to help secure Johnson's pardon after seeing a clip about her on Mic. Johnson had told that website that she felt like a failure. She admitted that she got involved with the drug trafficking ring after she lost her job at FedEx, where she had worked for a decade. She said she lost that job due to a gambling addiction. Around that time, she also got a divorce and one of her sons died in a motorcycle accident.
Holley told ABC News about Johnson's pardon,“I’m sobbing too many tears of joy and gratitude right now to offer a cogent statement. Kim and I are standing by to speak with Miss Alice now.”
Johnson’s pardon marks the sixth act of clemency Trump has given since he became president.
Trump gave a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson last month after Sylvester Stallone advocated for Johnson. The boxer was convicted in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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