Less than 24-hours after Alice Marie Johnson, the 65-year-old Black woman whose prison sentence was commuted by Donald Trump in June 2018, spoke at the Republican National Convention, she has been granted a full pardon by the President.
“I'm so proud of you," Trump said to Johnson, as she sat next to him in the Oval Office on Friday (August 28). Much to the surprise of Johnson, Trump added, "We're gonna give a full pardon, we're doing it right now."
He continued, "That means you can do whatever you want in life. Just keep doing the great job you're doing. Alice has done an incredible job since she's been out, and recommending other people" to grant clemency.
Watch the moment below:
Johnson spent 22 years of what was meant to be a life sentence in federal prison after she was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine as well as money laundering. She was a first time, nonviolent offender. Her case came to Kim Kardashian West's attention in 2018. The reality star lobbied for Johnson's release during a subsequent visit to the White House, and days later Johnson was granted clemency.
Johnson said during her RNC speech that Trump "saw me as a person" and juxtaposed his ability to "free my body" next to God who freed her soul.
"It was real justice reform," Johnson said of the First Step Act, the legislation that led to her release. "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."
Following her speech, Johnson was called a "prop" for Republicans by Politico, to which she responded, "I'm not a prop, and I'm not a puppet. I make my own choices as to what I'd like to do."
"What amazes me about the things that are being said is that another former prisoner spoke at the [Democratic National Convention] last week, and she was not called a prop for choosing to speak there, yet I don't have the choice to speak where I want to," Johnson said during an interview on Fox & Friends.