President Donald Trump Friday granted a full pardon to prison reform advocate Alice Johnson after she spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention (RNC). Trump had previously commuted Johnson’s life sentence back in 2018.
Convicted in 1996 for eight federal criminal counts relating to involvement in cocaine trafficking organization, Johnson was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1997. Johnson’s sentence was widely seen as an example of the disproportionate punishment Black Americans experience in the criminal justice system. After various campaigns led by civil liberties organizations the last couple of years, Kim Kardashian publicly pushed Trump to grant her clemency in 2018, which he then ultimately did that same year.
On Thursday, Johnson spoke at the RNC, urging Black voters to support Trump. In the speech, Johnson commended the administration’s efforts to advance criminal justice reform.
The next day, Trump granted Johnson a full pardon. Just before signing the pardon, Trump noted her attendance at his party’s political convention the night before, stating “We didn’t even discuss it. We just — you were out there; I saw you in the audience last night. And 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.”
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Johnson argued her speech at the RNC was not an “endorsement” because she still did not have the right to vote at the time of her speech. The presidential pardon subsequently restored her ability to vote. In light of her pardon, Johnson commented that she would now like to “see [Trump] reelected.”