According to the White House, President Joe Biden met with Brittney Griner’s wife on Wednesday and reassured her that he is working to secure Griner’s release as quickly as possible. Griner is a WNBA star who is now arrested and facing prosecution in Russia.
Following Brittney Griner’s personal appeal to the president in a handwritten letter the White House received on Monday, Biden spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner. Griner pleaded with Biden in the letter not to “forget about me and the other American Detainees,” acknowledging her worries that she might be held in Russian custody indefinitely.
Currently, on trial in Russia for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, Griner has been incarcerated for four months.
The White House released a statement saying that the president contacted Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to ensure Brittney’s release as quickly as possible as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other Americans who are unlawfully jailed or held hostage in Russia and other countries. The President’s letter to Brittney Griner was also read to her by him.
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While the administration works to secure Brittney Griner’s release, Biden pledged to support the family and ensure they get “all conceivable assistance,” the White House stated.
After being detained on February 17 on suspicion of carrying cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team, Griner is currently undergoing a trial in Russia that started last week. The trial will pick back up on Thursday.
Fewer than 1% of defendants in criminal cases in Russia are found not guilty, and unlike in American courts, acquittals can be reversed.
It was “disheartening” to Cherelle Griner, she said in an appearance with “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, because she hadn’t heard from Biden during Brittney Griner’s arrest.