President Trump on Friday signed a full pardon for Alice Johnson, whose life sentence he commuted two years ago after she served more than 21 years of a life sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
“I asked the folks if you could bring Alice over, and we’re going to give a full pardon. We’re going to do it right now. That means you have been fully pardoned,” Trump said before signing an Executive Grant of Clemency. “That’s the ultimate thing that can happen. That means you can do you whatever you want in life. And just keep doing the great job you’re doing.”
In an interview later Friday on CNN, Johnson said she “had no idea” Trump would grant her a pardon during their White House meeting.
“I’m so appreciative of everything the president’s done, and of course I support him as a president,” Johnson said. “And last night, I didn’t have a right to vote. And I still haven’t registered to vote. So I thought it would have been a little bit hypocritical of me to not be able to vote, and then say, ‘I’m endorsing.’ But I do support the work and things that the president is doing.”
In 2018, Trump granted Johnson clemency after serving nearly 22 years in prison of a life sentence she was given, despite being a first-time nonviolent offender. Her case was brought to his attention when Kim Kardashian West advocated for her release.
Johnson spoke at the Republican National Convention where she recounted her story of being given a life sentence and praised the president for signing the bipartisan criminal justice reform First Step Act.
“I was once told that the only way I would ever be reunited with my family would be as a corpse,” Johnson said Thursday at the RNC. “But by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight and I assure you, I’m not a ghost. I am alive, I am well, and most importantly, I am free.”
“Six months after President Trump granted me a second chance, he signed the First Step Act into law. It was REAL justice reform. And it brought joy, hope, and freedom to thousands of well-deserving people,” Johnson added. “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. I can’t wait because we’re just getting started.”
During her time incarcerated, Johnson completed numerous training and education courses, volunteered in a hospice, contributed her talents to art and theater programs, and held steadfast to her Christian beliefs.
Since President Trump commuted her sentence, Johnson has become an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform and has shared her story of redemption, while working with lawmakers on landmark criminal justice reform efforts.
Johnson fought back tears as she sat beside Trump when he announced he will be fully pardoned. Trump didn’t take any questions and the two bowed their heads in prayer, joined by Pastor Jeffress.
This is the second pardon the President has granted this week. On Tuesday, Trump pardoned Jon Ponder, a convicted bank robber who now runs a nonprofit organization for prisoners.