On Wednesday, Alice Johnson was granted clemency and released from prison after 22 years behind bars, thanks in large part to the efforts of Kim Kardashian West after a meeting with President Trump. On Thursday, the 63-year-old great grandmother shared her thanks with the President himself on Good Morning America.
"I’d like to tell President Trump that I am so grateful for everything that you’ve done for me and my family," she said. "This moment right now is happening because President Trump had mercy on me." While she celebrated her own freedom, she added that she hopes he will continue to consider cases much like her own. "I'd like to tell him that, please, please remember us, the others who have been left behind because there are so many like me who need to have an opportunity, the opportunity that I’ve had," she said. While the White House hasn't reached out to Johnson directly since the news, Trump did wish her good luck over Twitter on Thursday.
Kardashian West enlisted her lawyer Shawn Holley to help get Johnson released after learning about her story last fall. Johnson explained her crimes came as a result of being unemployed, and she would go on to relay messages and provide a line of communication for a cocaine trafficking operation. Despite never making or selling any drugs herself, she was sentenced to life without the chance of parole, with an additional 25 years after a co-conspirator testified against her.
After phone conversations with Trump's son-in-law, as well as senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, the case was able to make its way to White House lawyers and Trump himself. The reality star had a meeting with Trump last week to discuss the matter, and its positive results came to fruition just this week. She then delivered the news herself that Johnson's life plus 25-year sentence was being commuted. "When Kim told me that I was being released, I started jumping up and screaming and crying and everyone else was crying," she said of the phone call. "It was wonderful. I’m so glad that she was the one who was able to deliver the news to me. It was a perfect ending."
Since her release, she's had a chance to reconnect with her family after more than two decades behind bars, which she calls "the most exhilarating feeling." Much like Kardashian West, Johnson wants to continue working for prison reform to make changes to the damaged system. "I plan on continuing to work hard to use my case as an example for prison reform and sentencing reform to make a difference," she said. "When you see my face, you see so many other faces that I represent. This is not the end for me."
Watch the full interview above.