Britney Griner’s wife says it’s ‘very disheartening’ that she still hasn’t heard directly from President Biden, even after the WNBA star – who is languishing in a Russian prison – sent a handwritten letter to the president, begging him not to “forget” her.
Cherelle Griner appeared remotely on “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, telling host Gayle King that she has decided to “no longer be silent” about the fate of his wife because the Biden administration hasn’t until have not been able to bring her home.
“I will find that balance between … harm and help by pushing our government to do everything possible because being silent, they don’t move, they don’t do anything,” Cherelle Griner explained.
Brittney Griner, 31, was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for allegedly carrying two cannabis vape cartridges, which are illegal in Russia, in her luggage.
Her criminal trial began in Khimki City Court on Friday, where prosecutors laid out their case against the basketball player, accusing her of large-scale drug transport, which carries a possible 10-year prison term.
On July 4, Griner wrote a letter to Biden from behind bars, telling the president, “I’m terrified to be here forever.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that the president had received and read the letter before calling Griner’s release a “priority” for the administration. She did not reveal whether Biden intended to respond.
“As you’ve heard us say before, he believes that any U.S. national held overseas or held or held hostage overseas, we need to get them back safely and we’re going to use whatever tools you can to for that to happen,” says Jean-Pierre. “Again, this is a priority for the president.”
The press secretary added that Cherelle Griner had spoken twice with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in the past ten days.
“I have nothing further to read regarding a possible call or meeting with her family, but we clearly believe she is being wrongfully detained,” Jean-Pierre said.
Cherelle Griner said during the CBS interview that when she read his wife’s missive, she could feel her fear.
“She’s probably the strongest person I know, so she doesn’t say words like that lightly,” she said. “It means she’s really terrified that she’ll never see us again.”
Cherelle speculated that Brittney – the proud daughter of a Vietnam War veteran – decided to address the president directly on Independence Day because her family has so far been unsuccessful. to contact him.
“I’m sure she’s like, ‘I’m going to write to him and ask him now because my family tried and failed, so I’m going to do it myself,'” Cherelle said.
The athlete’s wife of three years also revealed that in a recent chat with Brittney, she brought up the subject of her mental health, after seeing a disturbing photo of her with wide eyes as she arrived in court.
“I honestly wrote to her and said, ‘Hey, honey, you know, I saw a picture of you, and I know there’s propaganda, but I have to ask… are you okay? Cherelle remembers asking. “‘Are you crazy at this point? Understand that if you are, I still love you and when you come back, we will love you back, show yourself grace.
Cherelle said Brittney told her she felt ‘very weak’ at the time and was ‘surprised’ when she turned a corner of the courthouse and came face to face with hundreds of journalists. But the WNBA player assured his wife that she was “not crazy, not yet.”
The US government has claimed Griner’s detention was a Kremlin political ploy, a charge that President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed on Friday.
“It cannot be politically motivated,” Peskov told state news agency TASS. “[The] the facts are that a famous athlete was apprehended with banned compounds containing narcotic substances. Russian legislation does indeed contain provisions that provide penalties for such crimes.
Meanwhile, Russian media have repeatedly raised speculation that Griner could be traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed ‘the dealer of death’, who is serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy. to kill American citizens and help a terrorist organization.
At the White House on Tuesday, Jean-Pierre refused to say whether such an agreement could be reached with Moscow.
“I can’t speak to any ongoing discussions about how American nationals are detained overseas and wrongfully detained, how, what the process will be,” the press secretary said. “I just can’t talk about it.”
Griner’s drug trial is due to resume Thursday in Russia.
With post wires