Alice Marie Johnson released from prison, thanks Trump for commuting sentence

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Dimitrios Kambouris Getty Images

Johnson learned Wednesday that her life sentence plus 25 years for her role in a cocaine distribution ring, a nonviolent drug offense, was being commuted by Trump through a phone call from Kim Kardashian West.

A White House spokesperson said Johnson was a model prisoner and had paid her dues to society, hence her release after Kardashian lobbied for her. "Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates", the White House said in a statement.

Johnson was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama, for 21 years. As soon as she stepped out of the van, she ran toward waiting family members who greeted her with hugs, flowers and tears.

She said Trump said he had investigated the case, speaking to several people, including Johnson's warden, and everyone had "a unanimous feeling of Alice, that she will live a great life", Kardashian said.

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"I don't believe that there should be a non-violent offender like myself sentenced to life", she said. She and her family drove back to Memphis that same night.

BREAKING: President Trump has granted clemency to #AliceMarieJohnson after meeting with @KimKardashian West to talk about her case last week. And I love you, President Trump!

She told reporters that Kardashian was the one who first called her with the good news and thanked her especially, saying she never gave up the fight.

Alice Marie Johnson, the woman whose life sentence was commuted by President Trump this week, promised the commander in chief: "I will make you proud".

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She said both parents died while she was in prison. In 1993, she was arrested and accused of participating in an operation that trafficked drugs, including cocaine, and was involved in money-laundering.

One of Johnson's attorneys, Brittany K. Barnett, similarly applauded Johnson's clemency. "And that's to take a look at her situation, look at the individual, and say, "hey, this person is more than just a number or a statistic", said Scholl.

Johnson said that it's finally "starting to set in that I'm truly free".

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