Donald Trump is reportedly considering issuing a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson after a meeting with Kim Kardashian West.
Johnson, a great-grandmother from Memphis, Tennessee who became an ordained minister behind bars, has served more than 21 years in prison for a non-violent drug conspiracy offence.
She was sentenced to life without parole in 1996, despite it being her first offence.
Kardashian first read about her case in October 2017, and began tweeting about it, describing the sentence as "so unfair".
On May 30 she travelled to DC to meet the president and plead for clemency.
Mr Trump is considering a pardon, The Washington Post reported, but the decision has divided his cabinet.
John Kelly, the chief of staff, and White House counsel Donald McGahn are described as being "disturbed by the process", according to two people familiar with the discussions.
Mr Kelly has reviewed Johnson’s background and her 1996 conviction and is not convinced she deserves a pardon, an administration official told the newspaper.
Mr McGahn has also argued against the possible pardon as an unnecessary action by the president, a second official said.
But the case, seized upon by Kardashian, has become a cause celebre for prison reform advocates.
Johnson worked in management for 10 years but lost her job and “struggled financially.”
Johnson had lost her job at FedEx due to a gambling addiction, her son was killed in a motorcycle accident and her marriage ended in divorce.
She said she felt like a failure and “out of desperation” she “made one of the worst decisions of my life. I became involved in a drug conspiracy,” she says.
Johnson wrote a lengthy article for CNN, and explained: “Before my incarceration, I had a full life. I married my childhood sweetheart and became the mother to five beautiful children. As the years went on I became a facilitator training people on how to be managers. I was a manager at FedEx for seven years. Life for a time was good.”
Kardashian and her legal team hope that Johnson’s case will start a wider conversation about prison reform.
Johnson’s lawyer, Brittany Barnett, told CBS News: "We are grateful that Kim is using her platform to raise awareness and hope that everyone looks beyond Kim and sees that there is a woman about to die in prison."
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