President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with the wife of detained American basketball star Brittney Griner to stress that the administration working to secure her release from Russia as soon as possible, the White House said Wednesday.
A statement said that during the call with Cherelle Griner, the president “offered his support to Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and he committed to ensuring they are provided with all possible assistance while his administration pursues every avenue to bring Brittney home.”
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February on charges of possessing cannabis oil. The WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, who had been playing for the Russian basketball club UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA’s offseason, is facing a drug transportation charge that could lead to a maximum 10-year sentence if convicted. The trial began last Friday and is set to resume Thursday.
Wednesday’s call came after Brittney Griner wrote a letter to President Biden asking for him to do “all he can” to bring her home.
Griner's representatives shared parts of the letter Monday. "As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever," Griner wrote.
The White House statement says Biden read to Cherelle Griner a draft of a letter that he is sending to Brittney.
“The President directed his national security team to remain in regular contact with Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and with other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” the statement said.
The phone call with Cherelle Griner follows recent calls that she had with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.