About two years before the end of his 11-year prison sentence for insider trading, ex-billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was quietly released to house arrest, thanks to a new federal law that Kim Kardashian had lobbied President Trump to sign.
- Kardashian helped get the 2018 First Step Act signed into law by President Trump. It grants nonviolent criminal offenders, particularly those convicted for drug charges, early release from prison if they are over 60 or if they have a terminal illness.
- Rajaratnam, whose net worth Forbes estimated at $1.3 billion in 2009 when he was among the 400 richest Americans, was released July 23. Bloomberg first reported his release on Friday.
- The law is intended to help undo the effects of mass incarceration, which in the 1990s saw African Americans imprisoned at a much higher rate than white people.
- It appears Rajaratnam qualified under the First Step Act due to his age—he’s now 62—and his health, as he’s reported to have advanced diabetes. Rajaratnam will serve the remainder of his sentence on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side and is allowed to leave his home for work during the day.
- Kardashian’s foray into prison reform began in May 2018, when she visited the White House (and was photographed behind the Resolute Desk with Trump) during a clemency discussion for Alicia Marie Johnson, an elderly woman and first-time offender serving a life sentence for drug conspiracy.
- After helping secure Johnson’s early release, Kardashian decided to become a lawyer. She took on an apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm, where she helped work on the First Step Act, and plans to take the bar exam in 2022. Continue reading at Forbes.com.