Kim Kardashian, Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner Have Apparently Teamed Up To Help An Imprisoned Grandma
For over a year, one of America's most famous celebrities has been trying to secure a presidential pardon for a woman sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent crimes. Now she's taken the fight to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Kim Kardashian teamed up with Jared and Ivanka to try to win President Trump's support to pardon a convicted grandmother.
And reportedly, she's been successful. The story was first reported by Mic, which said a representative for Kardashian West confirmed she's been talking to people at the White House, whose attorneys have taken a look at the case. Now set to land on the president's desk is the file of 62-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, a woman who was convicted in 1997 on charges of money laundering and drug conspiracy.
According to an ACLU report called "A Living Death," which was meant to highlight cases of people who received prison sentences disproportionate to their crimes, Johnson participated in an operation that trafficked cocaine from Houston to Memphis between 1991 and 1994. She said that she helped with distribution, in part by sending coded messages and receiving shipments, but didn't make any drug sales personally.
Ten of Johnson's co-conspirators testified against her in exchange for being granted greater leniency in court themselves. They received at most 10 years in prison, while Johnson was given a lifetime sentence without parole. It was her first conviction.
Mic reported that Kardashian West found out about Johnson via a video it made about her case last October. When Johnson learned Kardashian West was trying to intervene in the case to secure a pardon for her, Johnson wrote a letter to her that TMZ obtained. "Ms. Kardashian you are literally helping to save my life and restore me to my family," she wrote. "I was drowning and you have thrown me a life jacket and given me hope."
TMZ reported that Kardashian West has "recently ramped up" her conversations with Kushner and Trump and that she's optimistic about the chance of success: "she's hopeful a pardon will happen soon."
This news comes a week after Kardashian West's husband, Kanye West, drew attention for sending a series of tweets that expressed his "love" for President Trump. Kardashian West, on the other hand, does not approve of Trump and was a Hillary Clinton supporter. But she'll join forces with the president's children if it means winning support for Johnson.
Johnson was a single mother trying to support five children when she turned to trafficking. According to the ACLU, she lost her job in 1990 and found a new one working at a Kellogg's factory, but it didn't pay enough for her and her kids to get by. She experienced several other devastating hardships around this time: Her house was foreclosed, she was forced to apply for bankruptcy, and her youngest son died at the age of 12 after a scooter accident.
"I couldn't find a job fast enough to take care of my family," Johnson has said, according to a Change.org petition started by her daughter, Tretessa Johnson. "I felt like a failure. I went to a complete panic and out of desperation I made one of the worst decisions of my life to make some quick money."
Now Johnson has served over two decades of her lifelong sentence. "It feels like I am sitting on death row," she told the ACLU. "Unless things change, I will never go home alive."
Johnson is a grandmother of four and has a large extended family. She says that one of the hardest parts of being incarcerated has been being separated from them, including from her mother while she was suffering from Alzheimer's.
Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders (CAN-DO) named Johnson as its #1 woman deserving clemency in 2014. The nonprofit was started by the Obama administration — but President Obama denied a clemency appeal on behalf of Johnson before leaving office.
Perhaps President Trump will be more lenient. That is, if Kim, Jared, and Ivanka have anything to say about it.