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Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle, President Biden Spoke About Star's Russian Detention

Adam WellsJuly 6, 2022

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File

Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, has spoken to President Joe Biden about her wife's ongoing detention in Russia.

Per a White House press release, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner in a phone call on Wednesday to "reassure her" that the President is "working to secure Brittney's release as soon as possible" along with the release of additional U.S. nationals being "wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world."

ABC News @ABC

JUST IN: Pres. Biden, Vice Pres. Harris spoke to Cherelle Griner, Brittney Griner's wife, White House says.<br><br>"The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible." <a href="https://t.co/aEfCwQMp9K">https://t.co/aEfCwQMp9K</a> <a href="https://t.co/MitRRJLU4w">pic.twitter.com/MitRRJLU4w</a>

Cherelle said Wednesday that she's "grateful" for President Biden's commitment to bringing the WNBA star home:

T.J. Quinn @TJQuinnESPN

"While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond. I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten." /2

T.J. Quinn @TJQuinnESPN

"Let’s continue to use our voices to speak the names of all the wrongfully detained Americans and support the Administration as they do what it takes to bring them home today." /x

Griner has played for UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason since 2014.

Per Michael Crowley and Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times, Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner on Feb. 17 after claiming it found cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport. She has been detained for 139 days as of Wednesday.

According to Crowley and Abrams, Griner is under criminal investigation for "large-scale transportation of drugs, an offense that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in Russia."

The WNBA, as well as many of Griner's fellow WNBA and NBA players, have been vocal in their support for her and urging the American government to take action to bring her home.

WNBPA @TheWNBPA

Statement from the WNBPA regarding Brittney Griner. <a href="https://t.co/Bw9sVCJAlX">pic.twitter.com/Bw9sVCJAlX</a>

🏁 Jamal Crawford @JCrossover

Brittney Griner needs to be home!!

ESPN @espn

<a href="https://twitter.com/paigebueckers1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@paigebueckers1</a> closes out her interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/malika_andrews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malika_andrews</a> with a powerful message on Brittney Griner:<br><br>"Whatever it takes to get her home ... I think it's definitely time." <a href="https://t.co/jf89kBOFi9">pic.twitter.com/jf89kBOFi9</a>

Per Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press, Griner sent a handwritten letter to Biden that he received on Monday asking him to not "forget about me and the other American Detainees” in Russia.

Griner's trial in Russian court began on July 1, with a second session scheduled to take place on Thursday. A judge ordered her to remain in custody for an additional six months during a preliminary hearing last month.

Brittney and Cherrelle Griner were scheduled to have a phone call on June 18, but it never took place because the United States Embassy was unstaffed on that date. The White House did reschedule the call after what it called an "unfortunate mistake" prevented it from taking place as planned.

The couple have been married since June 2019.

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