Kim Kardashian and Alice Marie Johnson Talk About President Trump Commuting Her Sentence

After Kim Kardashian personally advocated for her at the White House, President Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who was sentenced to life without parole in 1997 for her role in a drug trafficking operation—a first-time, nonviolent offense. This morning, Kardashian and Johnson sat down for their first joint interview with the Today show’s Hoda Kotb, just one day after meeting in person for the first time.

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Johnson, 63, opened up about the tragedies that befell her in life, like the death of her youngest son, and the economic hardship that led her to make the decision that landed her behind bars. “I’m not trying to excuse myself, Hoda. I want to make that clear,” Johnson said. “Because I did make that choice to do what I did, but sometimes you make excuses for your actions, and before you know, it’s deeper in, further down.”

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Kardashian said she first heard about Johnson on Twitter, and retweeted a story she read about her. Then she called her lawyer and asked if there was anything she could do to help. “It became this mission that I just didn’t want to give up,” Kardashian said.

Johnson said she had never heard of Kardashian before the two got in touch. “As soon as I found out who she was, I started getting every magazine I could find, I started reading everything I could about her, and everyone was amazed, and I was amazed, too,” she said.

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Kardashian also made it clear that she had worked for seven months to advance Johnson’s cause, and it wasn’t as simple as just making a call to President Trump. Despite publicly disagreeing with Trump’s politics and supporting Hillary Clinton in the election, Kardashian spoke highly of both the president and Ivanka Trump on this issue.

Kardashian said one of her first steps in securing the White House’s support was a phone call with Ivanka, which led to her visit with the President. “We had a really great conversation about women, and wanting to help each other,” Kardashian said, “and I knew that she would have understood Alice, and she immediately was so receptive, and so great.”

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Once she got into the White House to meet President Trump, she broke the ice with a throwback: “I first said that I am here because I really want to know why you kicked Khloé off The Apprentice,” Kardashian said. But then she got serious, arguing that Johnson deserved a second chance. “The president had compassion for her right away,” she said. “He felt that it was the right thing to do.”

It was Kardashian who got to tell Johnson that Trump commuted her sentence. “I thought she knew, because the news was starting to break, and we had to get her on the phone,” Kardashian said. “We all just cried on the phone.”

Johnson said she now plans to honor the work of Kardashian and other supporters by advocating for sentencing reform. “Thank you is not big enough. I think I have to walk it out,” she said. “I have to walk my thank you out, I have to live it out for her, for my family, for the supporters.”

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