Report: Donald Trump Asks Xi Jinping for Help Resolving LiAngelo Ball, UCLA Case

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

US Donald Trump talks during the ASEAN-US 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017. 
World leaders are in the Philippines' capital for two days of summits.  / AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND POOL / Aaron Favila        (Photo credit should read AARON FAVILA/AFP/Getty Images)
AARON FAVILA/Getty Images

United States President Donald Trump reportedly "personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help in the case of three American college basketball players accused of shoplifting last week," according to Dan Merica and Joshua Berlinger of CNN.

David Nakamura of the Washington Post first reported the news.

Those three players were Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

According to Arash Markazi of ESPN.com, the three players were released on bail after being questioned by authorities but were expected to remain in Hangzhou for a week or two. Local police have put them under de facto house arrest at the hotel UCLA was staying at during its trip to China. The rest of the UCLA team has since returned to the United States.

Nakamura reported that "Xi promised to look into the case and ensure that the players be treated fairly and expeditiously," adding that Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has remained in contact with the families of the players involved, UCLA head coach Steve Alford and the Chinese authorities while the matter is being resolved.

The "charges against the players have been reduced and that the case is proceeding toward a resolution," an unnamed official confirmed to Nakamura.

Lavar Ball was expected to make a public statement on Wednesday but was advised by legal counsel against speaking.

"He'll be fine. He'll be fine," he said of his son Wednesday morning while leaving the hotel, per Markazi. "Everybody making it a big deal. It ain't that big of a deal."

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