Kim Kardashian is putting her time as an apprentice lawyer to good use.
Just two years ago, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star helped the White House grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother who was serving a life-plus-25-year sentence as a first-time nonviolent offender. Now, Kim is taking on other cases in the hopes of securing freedom for Americans she believes have been wronged by a broken justice system—all of which is captured in Oxygen’s upcoming two-hour documentary Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project.
In an exclusive sneak peek at the documentary, Kim opens up about what led her to Dawn Jackson‘s case.
“I feel like The Justice Project has been my personal journey of growth of what I didn’t know in the system,” Kim explains. “To me, if you would hear someone like Dawn—when I read her letter for the first time, I cried. First of all, I commended her for being so open and honest with me from her first letter.”
According to Kim, Dawn’s letters revealed that she had endured years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse before going on to kill her abusive step-grandfather.
“She detailed her abuse. She really got right to the point. She was ready to talk about it and was so open with me,” Kim continues. “But then to come find out that she couldn’t be that open during her trial and she couldn’t reveal any of that—that was the reason why she did what she did.”
It’s revelations like these—Dawn’s attorney allegedly advising her not to reveal the abuse—that Kim says made her grateful to have a team of legal experts working alongside her. She knew that some things that are “common knowledge” for most attorneys weren’t that way for her as she’s still “learning it all with fresh eyes.”
In the clip, Kim says that she was also drawn to Dawn’s case because it reminded her of how she felt while working on Johnson’s case.
“The concept just was one of those like, okay, Alice Johnson, same sentence as Charles Manson? Non-violent first-time offense? Doesn’t add up. Doesn’t make sense to me,” Kim says. “Dawn’s case, like that same feeling that I felt: that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Kim goes on to reveal that she initially planned to avoid any cases that involved violence.
“I started off my journey always thinking, okay, non-violent offenses, I can totally rally behind that. I can support that. I can understand that,” she explains. “Anything with violence, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to really support a situation—until I started to visit these prisons and meet people that have just poured their hearts out to me, shared some really personal information and I completely understood them.”
Dawn’s first letter was apparently a driving force for Kim’s change of heart. She eventually told The Justice Project producers, “We have to research Dawn. We have to understand how can this happen.”
“And if I don’t understand, then I know so many people won’t understand,” Kim adds. “And I hope that other people can see—instead of seeing on paper what they made her out to look like.”
She continues, “You can understand her journey and feel her pain. How the system failed her and made her out to look was just not fair, in my eyes.”
Learn more about Dawn’s case by watching the above clip, and tuning into Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project on Oxygen Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m.