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Posted: June 14, 2018

Kim Kardashian on working to help Alice Johnson: ‘I just didn’t want to give up’

Kim Kardashian West met Alice Johnson, the 63-year-old woman whose life sentence she worked to have commuted, for the first time in Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Kim Kardashian West met Alice Johnson, the 63-year-old woman whose life sentence she worked to have commuted, for the first time in Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

On Wednesday, Kim Kardashian West and Alice Johnson met for the first time since Johnson’s life sentence was commuted.

Kardashian West and Johnson spoke with Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show about meeting for the first time, Kardashian West’s work to have Johnson freed and the possibility of more sentences being commuted.

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Johnson, 63, served more than 21 years for nonviolent charges related to drug possession and money-laundering. NBC News reported that, according to the 1994 incitement, Johnson led a multi-state cocaine trafficking operation in the early 1990s. Johnson said a series of personal struggles -- divorce, the death of her youngest son and bankruptcy -- led her to need money for her family fast. When she met Kardashian West, she thanked her for working to get President Donald Trump to commute her sentence.

Kardashian West, 37, found out about Johnson’s story last year. 

“I knew that I had the resources to do that. It became this mission that I just didn’t want to give up,” she said.

Kardashian West got her attorney involved to find out how she could help.

“I mean, I think to some people it might seem like, ‘OK, Kim made a phone call to the president, showed up.’ We had been in talks and working on this for seven months. And it wasn't an instant thing. It was a lot of work.”

Kardashian West started the work by calling Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and adviser. The call eventually led to the May 20 meeting between Kardashian West and the president and a week later, Johnson’s sentence was commuted.

Kardashian West called Johnson to give her the news.

“You’re going home,” Kardashian West said.

“When she said that, I went into full-fledged Pentecostal holy dance,” Johnson said. “I started screaming and jumping.”

Johnson says she will continue to work to bring attention to those who have been incarcerated for first -time, nonviolent drug offenses.

“I plan on continuing to magnify this issue,” Johnson said. “I’m just an example, but I'm not the only one. There are so many others like me whose faces are not here, who are not sitting next to a war angel, who deserve clemency as much as I did and who deserve another chance in life, and I can’t stop.”

Kardashian West says she will continue that work as well, and has already brought several other cases to the attention of the White House,  according to NBC News.

“People have been asking me, ‘Are you getting into politics?’ Like, no. I’m still doing me, but I enjoy this,” she said. “This has fulfilled my heart and so since I feel so fulfilled, why would I stop that?”

Johnson said she will show her gratitude to Kardashian through her work.

“‘Thank you’ is not big enough,”Johnson said. “I think I have to walk it out. I have to walk my ‘thank you’ out. I have to live it out for her, for my family, for the supporters.”

Watch Johnson and Kardashian West’s interview on Today.com or in the video below.


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