Kim Kardashian has met with the President Donald Trump at the White House to make a high-profile case for prison reform and advocate on behalf of a grandmother who's serving a life sentence for drug offences.
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon local time to meet with Jared Kushner — President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser — who also oversees the administration's push to overhaul the nation's prison system.
It's understood she reached out to Ivanka Trump, who put her in contact with her husband.
In a meeting which reportedly lasted "less than an hour", the reality TV star urged President Donald Trump to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who has spent more than two decades behind bars and is not eligible for parole.
According to US media reports, Johnson's conviction stemmed from her role in a multimillion-dollar drug ring that dealt thousands of kilograms of cocaine.
Afterwards, Trump tweeted a fairly awkward photo of himself and Kardashian in the Oval Office.
Within seconds, the bizarro photo of this meeting of the minds became the talk of Twitter:
Kardashian is one of the very few celebrities who have visited the White House since Trump took office in 2016. She was seen posing for photos in front of the West Wing before entering the room.
In an interview with the website Mic, Kardashian said she had been incredibly moved by Johnson's story, after seeing a video by the news outlet on Twitter.
She reached out to her longtime personal lawyer, Shawn Holley, to ask him to look at the case and is paying for a new legal team for Johnson.
Just last week, the president granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing's first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson's name more than 100 years after what many saw as his racially charged conviction.
The pardon had been championed by actor Sylvester Stallone, who called Trump personally to discuss the case.
WHO IS ALICE MARIE JOHNSON?
Alice Marie Johnson was convicted in 1996 on eight criminal counts related to a Memphis- based cocaine trafficking operation involving more than a dozen people. The 1994 indictment describes dozens of deliveries and drug transactions, many involving Johnson.
She was sentenced to life in prison in 1997, and appellate judges and the U.S. Supreme Court have rejected her appeals. Court records show she has a motion pending for a reduction in her sentence, but federal prosecutors are opposed, saying in a court filing that the sentence is in accord with federal guidelines, based on the large quantity of drugs involved.
A criminal justice advocacy site, CAN-DO, and one of Johnson's attorneys say a request for clemency was rejected by former President Barack Obama. The reasons are unclear.
A 1997 Associated Press story on Johnson's sentencing said she headed up a multimillion-dollar drug ring. But Memphis attorney Michael Scholl, who filed the latest court documents in her request for a sentence reduction, said she was not a leader in the cocaine operation.
"What is the purpose of putting a lady with no prior criminal record, on a nonviolent drug offense, in jail for her entire life?" he said in a telephone interview. "She's a model inmate." Scholl added that Johnson has admitted her wrongdoing, which is borne out in letters she has written to U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays, who now oversees her case.
"Judge Mays I'm writing to you to express my deep remorse for the crime that I committed over 20 years ago. I made some bad choices which have not only affected my life, but have impacted my entire family," she said in a February 2017 letter in the court record.
- with Wires