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President Biden Spoke to Brittney Griner’s Wife on Wednesday

President Joe Biden spoke to Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, on Wednesday, pledging his commitment to secure Griner’s release and bring the WNBA All-Star home.

In a statement from the White House, Biden called Cherelle to reassure her that he was working to secure Brittney’s release. Biden also read Cherelle a draft of the letter he plans to send Brittney on Wednesday, per the White House. 

Biden’s conversation with Cherelle comes two days after Brittney wrote a letter seeking Biden’s assistance in her release. Griner, who is in the middle of a trial in Russia that began last week, has been detained in the country since February after customs claimed to have found hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow. Griner’s trial is scheduled to resume on Thursday.

Before Cherelle chatted with President Biden on Wednesday, she spoke in an interview on CBS Mornings on Tuesday saying that she had not heard from Biden. Cherelle called it a “very disheartening” situation.

In parts of Brittney’s letter to Biden that were shared by ESPN’s T.J Quinn, she stated that she was “terrified” she might remain in Russia “forever.”

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

As Griner continues to plead her case to President Biden and his administration to assist in her release, she remains in custody for the duration of her trial. According to the Associated Press, Griner’s detention was extended to Dec. 20.

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent with Wasserman, believes that Griner’s wrongful detainment is being used as a “political pawn.”

In addition to Griner, Paul Whelan is another American and former Marine and security director hoping to be released as well. Currently, Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for an espionage conviction, per the Associated Press.