Kim Kardashian is a “dedicated” and “smart” law student whose passion for criminal justice is real. That’s what Jessica Jackson – one of the two attorneys helping to guide the reality TV star in her bid to become a lawyer – tells HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. The 38-year-old is revealing what it’s like to mentor the mom-of-four, ahead of the premiere of the Oxygen documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project. “I’m really honored to be able to work with Kim,” Jessica says. “She’s extremely smart. She’s extremely dedicated… She’s just very quick to pick up concepts and it’s not that anybody should have a preconceived notion of her, but I think her dedication is surprising sometimes.”
That dedication to criminal justice and fairness is front and center in The Justice Project, which fans will get to see on April 5. The two-hour special will take a look as Kim, Jessica and her other mentor, Erin Haney, examine the cases of four prisoners – Dawn Jackson, Alexis Martin, Momolu Stewart and David Sheppard – and the stories that led to their harsh sentences. For the three women it’s an opportunity to illustrate why they’re passionate about criminal justice reform.
In front of the camera Kim pores over letters, court docs and transcripts, trying to absorb everything she can about each case before her. The Keeping Up With the Kardashian star’s dedication doesn’t cease when the cameras stop rolling, Jessica says. “She’s got her own enterprises. She’s got four children. She’s got a lot going on, but she really does dedicate so much time…” Jessica says. “She has to do a 18 hours a week as part of this program but, even outside of that, she’s doing extra work on cases and she’s reading letters that she’s getting from people inside of prison.”
The two women first met when they joined forces in 2018 to push for the release of Alice Marie Johnson – a grandmother who was given a life sentence for a first time non-violent drug offence two decades earlier. It was President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who suggested that they connect after he spotted Jessica – who is a co-founder of #Cut50 (a bipartisan initiative to decrease incarceration) – wearing a “Free Miss Alice” pin during a White House prison reform summit. He later called Jessica, saying, “I want to connect you to somebody else who’s also fighting for Miss Alice.” That person was Kim who – after seeing a story about Alice circulating on social media – vowed to get a legal team to help secure her release.
As fans now know, in April 2019, less than a year after Trump commuted Alice’s sentence, Kim told Vogue that she’d begun a four-year law apprenticeship. Jessica shuts down those who scornfully label the decision a bid for “good press.” “No, if a celebrity wants good press, they go to a soup kitchen and they invite a bunch of cameras, hang out for a few hours and then they go home,” she says. “This is a four-year commitment. It’s literally 18 hours a week… She’s working on cases and studying and getting her law degree. So, I think that’s a big misconception, because obviously she’s passionate about it. Like you said, you see the fire in her eyes and she has dedicated so much of her life to this now.” Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project premieres on April 5 at 7pm.