President Biden calls WNBA star Brittney Griner’s wife, promises to work for release

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called Cherelle Griner, the wife of the WNBA star who has been detained in a Russian prison for months.

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The White House said in a news release announcing the phone call that Biden called Cherelle “to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible,” and that Biden read Cherelle a letter that he planned to send to Brittney today.

Brittney Griner sent a letter to Biden begging for help, saying that she feared she may never be released from the prison where she is being held, as we previously reported. Representatives for Griner released excerpts of the handwritten letter, which said not to “forget about me and the other American Detainees,” The Associated Press reported.

31-year-old Brittney Griner was arrested Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said she brought cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling a narcotic substance, CNN reported. Griner’s trial began on Friday.

Griner’s detention was previously extended another six months to Dec. 20, and a guilty verdict in her trial could carry a sentence of up to 10 years, USA Today reported.

Griner’s family has become increasingly vocal in pressuring the Biden administration to take action in the case, with Cherelle publicly saying she did not think the government was doing enough to bring Brittney home, ESPN reported.

Brittney Griner Letter 3.10.2022 by National Content Desk on Scribd

In March, two Republican congressmen, Byron Donalds and Burgess Owens, sent a letter to Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressing their concerns that Griner was being held as a political prisoner, and asking the government to work for Griner’s safe return.