The touching moment a first-time drug offender runs into the arms of her family after her life sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump has been captured on camera.
Great-grandmother Alice Johnson is seen sprinting into the arms of her waiting family in Aliceville, Alabama on Wednesday, just hours after Trump’s announcement.
Wearing an all white outfit, she appears tearful as she is greeted by waiting relatives, one of whom is carrying a bunch of flowers.
The footage was captured by local station WVTM-TV.
Alice Johnson, the moment she was released from prison and reunited with her family pic.twitter.com/qRi9HhI0JY
— #WVTM13 (@WVTM13) June 6, 2018
Hours earlier, Trump freed Johnson, 63, a first-time drug offender whose case has been championed by reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
The president commuted Johnson’s life sentence after the personal plea in the Oval Office from the reality star.
Kardashian posted a story about Johnson with the caption: ‘BEST NEWS EVER!!!!’
‘So grateful to @realDonaldTrump, Jared Kushner & to everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson,’ she said in a follow-up message. ‘Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.’
She said: ‘I hope to continue this important work by working together with organizations who have been fighting this fight for much longer than I have and deserve the recognition.’
Kardashian said later that she’d had a call with Alice Johnson and that it ‘will forever be one of my best memories.’
‘Telling her for the first time and hearing her screams while crying together is a moment I will never forget,’ Kardashian tweeted.
Trump met with Kardashian last week to discuss Johnson’s case in the Oval Office. The White House shared a picture of Kardashian and Trump, who was grinning from ear-to-ear, after the meeting that reporters were not allowed anywhere near.
Johnson’s attorneys had prepped Kardashian for the meeting with Trump where she begged for clemency for the great-grandmother.
A lawyer for Johnson did not return a request for comment on the commutation.
Reporting out of the White House from the news site Axios originally was that Johnson had been pardoned.
A senior White House official told DailyMail.com that was inaccurate.
An official White House statement later said that it was a ‘commutation’ and that it was being granted because ‘Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades.’
‘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 statement said, noting that even her warden had said she ‘exhibited outstanding and exemplary work ethic.’
The White House said: ‘While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.’
The move to commute the sentence came after internal debate among his top advisers.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn are said to have been less than thrilled, however, with the president’s recent reprieve.
Both officials are said to have reviewed Johnson’s case, which involved drug possession and money laundering, and were not convinced she should be set free, The Washington Post reported.
Kelly did not respond to questions from DailyMail.com after news of the commutation broke during a chance encounter.
A source told The Post that Trump is ‘obsessed’ with his almost unchecked ability to issue pardons and could issue a dozen more before the end of the summer.
CNN said the number he was considering was closer to 30.
An official affirmed the higher number to DailyMail.com.
Trump had already told reporters that he’s also considering pardons for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart.
The Post says that Trump is also thinking about pardoning two ranchers from Oregon, Dwight and Steven Hammond.
They were convicted of arson charges in 2012 and sentenced to minimal time in prison, then re-sentenced to five years each at the behest of the government.
Johnson’s case has a powerful ally in not just Kardashian, but the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who set up the face-to-face with with the celebrity who’s married to Kayne West.
Trump reportedly thanked Kardashian at the meeting for boosting his popularity with African-Americans, a group that has not strongly supported his presidency.
Two sources familiar with the conversation recounted it to Bloomberg News.
Trump received only 8 per cent of African-American vote in 2016, compared to the 88 per cent who supported Hillary Clinton.
Kardashian met with Trump and Kushner at the White House on May 30 to make her case for a presidential pardon for Johnson.
Trump has issued a pardon for conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza since that meeting.
Additionally, Trump has publicly said he could pardon Stewart and commute the sentence of Blagojevich.
The star of ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ told Mic News that her meeting with Trump went well after he tweeted the picture of them in the Oval Office.
‘He really understood, and I am very hopeful that this will turn out really positively,’ she said.
Kardashian also sent out a tweet that said, ‘I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.’
After the meeting, Kardashian left the White House and headed for Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump’s Washington D.C. home.
Exclusive photos taken by DailyMail.com show the reality star walking inside and laughing with the First Daughter and her husband.
Kardashian, who appeared on Trump’s NBC show ‘The Apprentice’ in 2010, said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
She arrived at and left the White House for her meeting last week in a black SUV, wearing all black, except for yellow stilettos.
Kardashian avoided a pack of press staking her out.
About a month before, her husband, West, had praised Trump in a tweet that said: ‘You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy.’
He later revealed that his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat is signed by Trump himself, posting a picture of the accessory.
Trump retweeted the message and wrote, ‘Thank you Kanye, very cool!’
The president then praised West at a rally in Michigan.
‘Kanye West gets it — when he sees African American unemployment is the lowest in history, you know, people are watching,’ Trump told a crowd of supporters.
Trump credited the April tweet from West with raising his approval rating among African Americans during a speech to the National Rifle Association the first week in May.
‘Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw I doubled my African American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week,’ Trump said at the NRA’s annual conference in Texas.
A Reuters tracking poll showed Trump’s approval among African-Americans rose by six points – from 12 per cent in April to 18 per cent in May. His support among male African Americans nearly doubled.
Johnson was imprisoned for life in 1996 for drug dealing and money laundering after her 15 accomplices all testified against her and had their own charges dropped, despite Johnson’s minor role in the cocaine ring.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Francesca Chambers and Ariel Zilber