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Biden has read WNBA star Brittney’s Griner letter pleading for help in midst of detention in Russia, White House says

Brittney Griner’s appeals to President Joe Biden in a handwritten letter continued to garner backlash Tuesday after the WNBA All-Star acknowledged she feared she would never return home and asked Biden to “not forget about me and the other American prisoners.”

Griner’s letter was delivered through her White House representatives on Monday, and officials say the president has read it.

Biden has called Cheryl Griner, the WNBA star’s wife, and has pledged to work to win her release as soon as possible, the White House said Wednesday.
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre was asked repeatedly about Griner on Tuesday during the regular briefing. He said Biden read the letter, but did not elaborate on his reaction.

“This is very personal for him.”

MORE: WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial begins in Russian court

Jean-Pierre did not say whether there were plans for Biden to speak with Griner’s family, but said that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently spoke with Griner’s wife.

Jean-Pierre said Biden wanted to take Griner and other Americans home.

“We’re going to use every tool we can to do that,” Jean-Pierre said.

Griner is in the middle of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on February 17 on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will continue on Thursday.

Less than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in American courts, acquittals can be overturned.

I’M WATCHING: Brittney Griner’s wife describes to ‘GMA’ their last direct communication

Griner’s representatives on Monday shared excerpts from her letter to the president.

“…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 achievement, I fear I may be here forever.” Griner wrote.

“On the Fourth of July, our family usually honors the services of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury center added. “It pains me to think about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

Cherelle Griner initially expressed her frustration that she had not been in direct contact with the White House since the letter was delivered. He said Brittney contacting Biden directly is an indication of how scared her wife is about what’s to come.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Biden has read WNBA star Brittney’s Griner letter pleading for help in midst of detention in Russia, White House says Source link Biden has read WNBA star Brittney’s Griner letter pleading for help in midst of detention in Russia, White House says

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