Kim Kardashian is set to meet with White House advisor Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump on Wednesday, May 30, to discuss pardoning Alice Marie Johnson.
"Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson. Today is for you," Kardashian tweeted early Wednesday.
Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson. Today is for you 🙏🏼✨— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 30, 2018
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But, who is Alice Marie Johnson? Unlike Kardashian, she’s not a household name — and that’s exactly why the wife of Trump fan Kanye West is advocating for her.
Who is Alice Marie Johnson?
Alice Marie Johnson, 63, was sentenced to life in prison for drug conspiracy and money laundering.
The Mississippi mother of four divorced her husband in 1989 and developed a gambling addiction, according to a 2013 Mic profile. Sooner after, she lost her job at FedEx, filed for bankruptcy and had her home foreclosed. Things continued to go downhill when her son was killed while riding a scooter in 1992.
Johnson soon started associating with known drug dealers and started working as a lookout and cocaine transporter. She was arrested — along with 15 others — on drug and money laundering charges. Ten of those co-defendants testified against her in exchange for reduced sentences ranging from probation to 10 years in prison.
Johnson received life without parole, plus 25 years, for her role in the crimes. It was her first drug charge.
"It feels like I am sitting on death row," she told Mic. "Unless things change, I will never go home alive."
But Kardashian wants to change that.
This is so unfair... https://t.co/W3lPINbQuy— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 26, 2017
"If you think about a decision that you’ve made in your life, and you get life without the possibility of parole for your first-time nonviolent offense, there’s just something so wrong with that," Kardashian told Mic.
Alice Marie Johnson admits she was wrong for criminal activity
Johnson wrote an op-ed for CNN in 2016 that acknowledged her role in the crime, something she said she did to ease financial burdens brought on by her job loss and bankruptcy.
"I want this part to be clear: I acknowledge that I have done wrong," she wrote.
"I made the biggest mistake of my life to make ends meet and got involved with people selling drugs. This was a road I never dreamed of venturing down. I became what is called a telephone mule, passing messages between the distributors and sellers. I participated in a drug conspiracy and I was wrong."
Will Kim Kardashian get Trump to parole Alice Marie Johnson?
High-profile support from Kardashian — along with a Change.org petition in favor of releasing Johnson — is certainly bringing more attention to her case. However, spokespeople for Kushner and the White House haven’t said whether they’ll work to release Johnson from her Alabama prison cell.
And she’s been passed over for clemency before. Supporters rallied then-President Obama to grant clemency for Johnson during his last months in office, though she wasn’t one of the 236 he eventually pardoned.
Alice Marie Johnson has been in prison for 21 years for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. pic.twitter.com/VFe29D2ve8— Mic (@mic) October 23, 2017
"When the criteria came out for clemency [under President Obama], I thought for sure — in fact, I was certain that I’d met and exceeded all of the criteria,” Johnson said in a 2017 Mic video. “I had 100 percent clear conduct for the entire time, my entire time in prison, no disciplinary infractions. I am a true first-time nonviolent offender.”