President Donald Trump on Friday granted a full pardon to Alice Marie Johnson, a criminal justice reform advocate whose life sentence he had previously commuted.
"You have been fully pardoned," Trump told Johnson, after noting he'd seen her in the audience during his Republican National Convention address from the White House lawn on Thursday. "That's the ultimate thing that can happen. It means you can do whatever you want in life."
"Just keep doing the great job you're doing," the president said, noting her work advocating for the release of other prisoners locked up for nonviolent offenses. "She's looking for those people and she's recommending those people," he said, adding, "We're very proud of Alice and the job you've done."
Johnson, who was sitting at Trump's side in the Oval Office, wiped her tears as he handed her the pen he'd used to sign the pardon. The action came less than 24 hours after Johnson told her story at the RNC — and thanked Trump for giving her a second chance.
"When President Trump heard about me — about the injustice of my story — he saw me as a person. He had compassion and he acted," she said in her convention speech.
Johnson said she prayed that others would hear her message, "that you will be inspired by my story, and your compassion will lead you to take action for those who are forgotten. That's what our president, Donald Trump, did for me. And for that, I will be forever grateful. God bless you. God bless President Trump, and God bless America."
In an interview with Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC earlier Friday, Johnson said she was supporting the president because his administration has been "open to the things that I've been bringing to the table." She added, "I don't know what Joe Biden would do."
Trump, she said, "had compassion upon me."
Trump had stepped in on Johnson's case after reality television star Kim Kardashian West personally lobbied him in an Oval Office meeting.
Johnson’s story became a viral sensation after she did an interview from the Alabama federal prison in which she was serving a life sentence without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. She had served more than 21 years behind bars on the drug conspiracy charge by the time Trump commuted her sentence in June of 2018.
Since her release, Johnson has consistently thanked Kardashian West and the president for their help, while continuing to advocate for criminal justice reform.