Seven former federal inmates had the opportunity to meet the man who had pardoned them: President Barack Obama. The former inmates were invited to the White House to what they thought would be a meeting with senior officials — little did they know they would meet the president of the United States.
They were seated in the Roosevelt Room when the door opened. Philip Emmert, who spent 14 years in prison on a meth distribution charge, recalled:
All of a sudden, the door busts open and we hear, ‘How’s everyone doing?’ and the president walks in. He said, ‘I have a little spare time, so let’s go out to eat.’
The inmates, all of them nonviolent offenders who had just received presidential clemency, found themselves having lunch with Obama.
The meeting and lunch came on the heels of an important week for clemency. That day, the president had announced he would commute the sentences of 61 further inmates.
Ramona Brant served 21 years of a life sentence she received on drug charges. She received clemency from Pres. Obama in December, and now had a hard time believing she was actually sitting next to the man who sat her free. She said:
I thanked him for believing in me. I promised I would never let him down, he would never have to worry about his name being tainted for signing the paperwork allowing me to be free.