Waleed Aly Says Kim Kardashian Has "Achieved Nothing" With Pardon
"I reckon this is awful," said Aly, of Alice Marie Johnson's release from prison.
Waleed Aly has slammed the recent release of grandmother Alice Marie Johnson from prison as "awful".
Speaking on The Project on Thursday night, he said that Kim Kardashian -- who has been working on securing Johnson's release since October 2017 -- had achieved "nothing".
"She's actually achieved nothing," he told his co-panelists. "She's achieved something for one person.
He agreed with Carrie Bickmore that the commute changed Johnson's life, but continued: "I reckon this is awful."
"Why?" asked a subdued Bickmore.
"Because you now have a president who effectively just thinks he can do things by pardons," he replied.
"That's the way he operates -- everything just goes through him. 'You're saved, you're not. You're free, you go to hell'. That's basically the way it works. That's the opposite of the way it's meant to work."
He added: "And it has to be someone like that," referring to Kardashian's celebrity status.
Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offence, had her sentence commuted by President Donald Trump this week.
It follows years of campaigning by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Kardashian became involved after seeing a report from US publication Mic in October 2017 that went viral, enlisting her own attorney to work on the case, liaising with Jared Kushner, and eventually securing a White House meeting to advocate for Johnson.
Aly is not alone in his fears. Trump has become "fixated" on pardons, reports the Washington Post, asking friends who else he should pardon. He even floated the idea of pardoning himself on Twitter this week.
Trump campaigned on a broader platform of hard line criminal justice, carrying that with him into office. He told a rally earlier this year drug traffickers should be executed, with Jeff Sessions signing off on a memo to ask federal prosecutors to consider the death penalty.
"The only thing i feel for is all the people that have been advocating on behalf of people for years," said Carrie Bickmore on The Project. "You know - knocking at the door, 'Please, please, please', and nothing, and Kim just walks in, 'Okay, let her out'."
The ACLU, while thanking Kim Kardashian for her efforts, used this moment to advocate for widespread prison reform across the country.
"I'm grateful to the president for allowing Alice to go home after 21.5 years in prison and to Kim Kardashian for her advocacy on Alice's behalf," said attorney Jennifer Turner of the ACLU following Johnson's release.
"I urge the president to do the same for other federal prisoners serving extreme sentences that don’t match the offenses, while reforming our draconian sentencing laws that produce these senseless punishments.”