PolitiFact.com did a fact check on President Donald Trump’s Super Bowl ad focusing on his role in commuting the sentence of a nonviolent drug offender. The 30-second black-and-white ad features clips of Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old woman who was released from prison in June 2018. “Alice Johnson was sentenced to serve life in prison for a nonviolent drug offence,” the ad says. The ad gives the impression that Johnson was among those prisoners released because of the First Step Act. In fact, Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence in June 2018, more than six months before he signed the First Step Act.
The ad’s claim that “thousands” have been released thanks to the law checks out, PolitFact says, noting that in July 2019, the Justice Department announced that more than 3,100 inmates had been released as a result of the First Step Act’s changes. But it notes that the First Step Act of 2018 “built on actions former President Barack Obama had taken during his time in office.”