President Donald Trump on Friday signed a full pardon for Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for drug offenses was commuted several years ago.
“We are giving Alice a full pardon. I just told her,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, as Johnson sat next to him. “We didn’t even discuss it … I saw you in the audience last night, and I asked the folks if you could bring Alice over,” he said. “And we’re going to give a full pardon. We’re going to do it right now. That means you have been fully pardoned. That’s the ultimate thing that can happen.”
When Trump pardoned her in 2018, Johnson was serving a life sentence for her involvement in a Memphis-area cocaine trafficking organization in 1996. The president commuted her sentence at the request of reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
Johnson delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) and testified to Trump’s compassion and praised his administration’s attempts to advance reforms to the criminal justice system.
“It was real justice reform,” Johnson said on Thursday of the First Step Act. “And it brought joy, hope, and freedom to thousands of well-deserving people. I hollered, ‘Hallelujah!’ My faith in justice and mercy was rewarded. Imagine getting to hug your loved ones again. It’s a feeling I will never forget. And to think, this first step meant so much to so many.”
She told viewers: “Truth is, there are thousands of people just like me, who deserve the opportunity to come home.”
Trump earlier this week pardoned Jon Ponder, who used his time in prison to create a reintegration program for ex-inmates. He was convicted and sentenced for robbing a bank.
On Friday, Trump told reporters that since Johnson was released from prison, she has done an “incredible job” and has identified more prisoners who are eligible for early release. “We’re very proud of Alice and the job you’ve done and what you represent,” Trump said.
Johnson has become the face of Trump’s efforts to push criminal justice reform, appearing in a Super Bowl ad on the issue.
“I pray that you will not just hear this message but that you will be inspired by my story and your compassion will lead you to take action for those who are forgotten,” she said in her RNC speech. “That’s what our president, Donald Trump, did for me, and for that I will be forever grateful.”