How Kim Kardashian triggered domino effect leading to Kwame Kilpatrick’s clemency

Criminal justice reform advocate Alice Johnson, whose case caught Kardashian’s attention, helped push for Kilpatrick’s early release

Kilpatrick's 28-year sentence was commuted on Jan. 19. The former Detroit mayor was released from prison the next day.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick reunited with his family Wednesday shortly after he was released from prison.

Kilpatrick, who served nearly eight years, was released early after his 28-year sentenced was commuted on Jan. 19 by former President Donald Trump.

While several people contributed to Kilpatrick’s release, it appears socialite and businesswoman Kim Kardashian also triggered a domino effect in the matter.

Alice Johnson, who was sentenced to life in prison on a drug charge in the 1990s, was recently released after her case caught the attention of Kardashian and was brought before Trump.


Johnson now spends her time helping others who she feels have been wronged by the justice system. When she heard about Kilpatrick, she acted right away.

“I thought it was horrible because he received so much time; way more time than anyone else who had had a financial crime,” Johnson said.

Johnson spent time researching Kilpatrick’s who life, including his criminal profile. She also communicated with him while he was in prison.

“He told me about so many incredible things he was doing in prison,” Johnson said. “Like myself, he was looked upon as a mentor, a confidant to many of the men he was incarcerated with.”

Johnson, along with others like Detroit businessman Peter Kamarnos, church leaders and some state representatives, were mentioned by the Trump administration as those pivotal in presenting the case to free Kilpatrick.

Jonson says she hopes that Kilpatrick will “regain his purpose.”

“I believe Kwame found a brand new purpose in life. We all make mistakes. But no one should ever be defined for the mistake they made,” she said.

Johnson said she realizes that not everyone is thrilled about Kilpatrick being free, but hopes everyone will give him an opportunity to show what he can do with his life following his release.

About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.