Brittney Griner's wife makes another plea for Biden to help her

‘I will not be quiet anymore’: Brittney Griner’s wife pleas with Biden to help release WNBA star from Russian jail after wrote letter to him saying she is ‘terrified I might be here forever’

  • Cherelle Griner said she will no longer ‘be quiet’ as her wife Brittney, 31, is still detained in a Russian jail  
  • She was originally told by the Biden Administration that they would ‘handle it behind the scenes’ and told her to ‘stay quiet’
  • ‘I did that, and respectfully, we’re over 140 days at this point, that does not work,’ she said. ‘I will not be quiet anymore’ 
  • Griner sent President Biden a letter on July 4 begging for her freedom and saying she’s scared she’ll never leave Russia 
  • She was arrested in February for having cannabis oil in vape cartridges and has been charged with ‘large scale transportation of drugs’
  • Cherelle said there is ‘no way possible’ for the charges to be true and Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said the athlete is being used as a ‘political pawn’
  • Griner could face up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted of the crime  

Brittney Griner’s wife says she will no longer ‘be quiet’ as she pleads for President Biden to help release the WNBA star from a Russian jail after nearly five months of detention. 

Her plea comes just one day after the athlete wrote a letter to the president saying she is ‘terrified I might be here forever.’ 

Cherelle Griner has been working to get her wife out of jail since she was taken into custody in February after being arrested for allegedly having cannabis oil. She was charged with ‘large scale transportation of drugs’ and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Cherelle said there was ‘no way possible’ her wife could have done that. She also revealed that the Biden Administration originally told her they would ‘handle [Brittney’s arrest] behind the scenes’ and to ‘stay quiet.’ 

‘I did that, and respectfully, we’re over 140 days at this point, that does not work,’ she told CBS Mornings on Tuesday. ‘I will not be quiet anymore, I will find that balance between harm versus help and push our government to do everything that’s possible.’

Cherelle Griner was originally told by the Biden Administration that they would ‘handle [Brittney’s arrest] behind the scenes’ and told her to ‘stay quiet.’ She said: ‘I did that, and respectfully, we’re over 140 days at this point, that does not work. I will not be quiet anymore’ 

‘Being quiet, they are not moving, they are not doing anything. My wife is struggling and we have to help her.’ 

Cherelle also noted that she has not heard from the Biden Administration since Griner’s letter, where she begged Biden for her freedom and expressed fear for that she might not ever leave.

‘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 accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,’ Griner wrote in a letter to Biden.

Brittney Griner, 31, (pictured on Friday) has been in jail since she was taken into custody in February after being arrested for allegedly having cannabis oil. She was charged with ‘large scale transportation of drugs’ and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted

Cherelle said there was ‘no way possible’ her wife was largely transporting anything. Griner wrote to President Biden on July 4, asking him not to forget about her and the other American detainees. She also said she was ‘terrified I might be here forever’

The letter was not released publicly, but excerpts were provided to DailyMail.com by a spokesman at Wasserman, the agency that represents Griner.

The six-foot-nine Phoenix Mercury star also referenced her father, a retired Houston sheriff who served in the Marines.

‘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,’ she continued. ‘It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.

‘I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,’ Griner wrote. ‘Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you.

‘I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.’

When asked about the photo of Griner appearing frightened (pictured), Cherelle said her wife was ‘startled’ by the amount of media present when she turned the corner and said she was ‘not yet’ insane 

Cherelle said she believed Griner wrote the letter to Biden because of the ‘failed attempt we have had as a family’ to get her home. 

‘It kills me every time I have to write her and she’s asking: “Have you met with him yet?” And I have to say no,’ she told CBS Mornings. 

When asked about photos of Brittney looking startled at one of her recent court dates, Cherelle said they ‘terrified’ her. 

‘I honestly wrote her and I was like: “Hey, honey, I saw a picture of you and I know that there’s such thing as propaganda, but I have to ask: Are you okay? Are you insane at this point?”

‘I told her that: “Understand that if you are, I still love you, and when you come back, we will love you back whole, show yourself grace. But if you’re not insane, could you please help my conscience, could you tell me more context about this picture.”‘ 

Griner reportedly told her wife that she was ‘weak’ at the moment, but ‘not yet’ insane. She also reportedly said she was ‘startled’ by the amount of media present when she turned the corner. 

Griner’s letter was sent to Biden, who has not indicated if he’s willing to do a prisoner swap. Cherelle also said she has not heard from Biden since the letter 

Griner went on trial on Friday, four-and-a-half months after her arrest on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play from a Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, in a case that has unfolded amid tense relations between Moscow and Washington.

The initial session of the trial offered the first public glimpse of Griner since the Phoenix Mercury center and two-time US Olympic gold medalist was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport in February.

Griner, 31, was escorted into the courtroom in the capital’s suburb of Khimki while handcuffed, carrying a water bottle and what appeared to be a magazine, and wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt. 

The state-owned Tass news agency quoted Griner as saying in court that she understood the charges against her. Asked by the judge if she wanted to enter a plea, Griner responded, ‘At this moment, no, your honor. At a later date,’ according to Mediazona, an independent news site known for its extensive coverage of high-profile court cases.

The trial will resume on July 7. 

Fewer than one percent of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in US courts, acquittals can be overturned.

Two witnesses were questioned by the prosecution: an airport customs official, who spoke in open court, and an unidentified witness in a closed session, according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. The trial was then adjourned, it said, when two other witnesses did not show up.

Alexander Boykov, an attorney for Griner, said outside court that he did not want to comment ‘on the specifics of the case and on the charges’ because it was too early to do so.

Boykov also told RIA-Novosti that she has been exercising and taking walks in the detention area. The Russian website Business FM said that Griner, who smiled at times at reporters, said she wishes she could work out more and that she was struggling because she doesn’t understand Russian. 

Elizabeth Rood, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, was in court and said she spoke with Griner, who ‘is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances.’

‘The Russian Federation has wrongfully detained Brittney Griner,’ Rood said. ‘The practice of wrongful detention is unacceptable wherever it occurs and is a threat to the safety of everyone traveling, working, and living abroad.’

Griner was seen putting her belongings through a scanner at the travel hub in Russia moments before her arrest 

Moments later, airport staff were seen putting one of her belongings into an envelope, then sealing it up 

She said the US government, from its highest levels, ‘is working hard to bring Brittney and all wrongfully detained US nationals home safely.’

At a closed-door preliminary hearing Monday, Griner’s detention was extended for another six months, to December 20.

Her case comes at an extraordinarily low point in Moscow-Washington relations. Griner was arrested less than a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already high tensions between the two countries. The US then imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow, and Russia denounced the US for sending weapons to Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday denied politics played a role in Griner’s detention and prosecution.

‘The facts are that the famous athlete was detained in possession of prohibited medication containing narcotic substances,’ Peskov told reporters. ‘In view of what I’ve said, it can’t be politically motivated,’ he added.

Griner’s supporters had kept a low profile in hopes of a quiet resolution until May, when the State Department reclassified her as wrongfully detained and shifted oversight of her case to its special presidential envoy for hostage affairs – effectively the US government’s chief negotiator.

Griner arrives to hearing in Khimki court outside Moscow on Monday, June 27

A fan holds up a sign urging other fans to call and pressure the White House to free seven-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner from Russian custody during the second half of a WNBA basketball game between the New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm

Russian news media have repeatedly raised speculation that Griner could be swapped for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout (pictured in 2008), nicknamed ‘the Merchant of Death,’ who is serving a 25-year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization 

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has urged President Joe Biden to secure her release, calling her ‘a political pawn.’

‘It was good to see her in some of those images, but it’s tough. Every time’s a reminder that their teammate, their friend, is wrongfully imprisoned in another country,’ Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said Monday.

Griner’s supporters have encouraged a prisoner swap like the one in April that brought home Marine veteran Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy.

Russian news media have repeatedly raised speculation that she could be swapped for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, nicknamed ‘the Merchant of Death,’ who is serving a 25-year sentence on conviction of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization.

Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas, pictured, says her client is being used as a ‘political pawn’

Russia has agitated for Bout’s release for years. But the wide discrepancy between Griner’s case – which involves alleged possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil – and Bout’s global dealings in deadly weapons could make such a swap unpalatable to the US.

Others have suggested that she could be traded along with Paul Whelan, a former Marine and security director serving a 16-year sentence on an espionage conviction that the U.S. has repeatedly described as a setup.

A week ago, Griner’s agent also begged the Biden administration to step up their efforts, while reminding followers that she believes the WNBA star is a political prisoner. 

‘The negotiation for her immediate release regardless of the legal proceedings should remain a top priority and we expect @POTUS and @VP to do everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home,’ tweeted Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent.

‘The fact remains that the US Government has determined that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained and being used as a political pawn.’

Griner’s agent called for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to ‘do everything in their power, right now, to get a deal done to bring her home.’ The basketball star’s detention was extended another six weeks and she has been ordered to stay imprisoned during her criminal trial, which started on July 1

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