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Alice Johnson Opens Up About ‘Moment of Shock’ After Being Pardoned By Trump

2 minute read

Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for drug offenses was just commuted by President Trump, said reuniting with her family upon being freed from prison was a “moment of shock.”

“Just to see my family there — my heart was leaping,” the 63-year-old grandmother said on the TODAY show Thursday morning.

Johnson had served 21 years of her life sentence after she was convicted on multiple criminal counts related to cocaine possession in 1996. Trump commuted her sentence Wednesday after a recent meeting with Kim Kardashian West, who recently visited the White house to discuss Johnson’s case and a possible pardon.

Video footage of Johnson leaving prison shows her running across the street and jumping into her family’s arms. Her daughter, Catina Scales, said on TODAY it was unbelievable Johnson was sitting there right next to her.

“I keep pointing out stuff like, ‘There’s the sunrise in Memphis, ma,'” Scales said. “It’s just been amazing.”

After Johnson was released from prison, Trump tweeted that he hopes she has “a wonderful life.”

Johnson’s commutation comes amid a series of pardons issued by Trump, including one for the conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted for campaign finance violation, and the late boxer Jack Johnson, over a century after he was convicted on a racist charge.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com