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President Biden receives Brittney Griner's letter from prison in Russia

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 1, 2022.
Alexander Zemlianichenko
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 1, 2022.

Updated July 5, 2022 at 11:23 PM ET

President Joe Biden has received the handwritten letter from WNBA Brittney Griner asking for his help while she is detained in Russia according to the White House.

Griner has been in Russian custodyon drug charges since shortly before Russia waged its war on Ukraine. Griner's family have been appealing to U.S. officials to help her get home. After multiple delays, her trial in Russia began on Friday.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she was there when Biden read the letter, however, declined to say whether the president would respond to it or if he planned to contact Griner's family.

"It is a deeply personal letter," Jean-Pierre said. "The president is going to do everything that he can in his power to bring her home, along with other U.S. nationals who are being ... wrongfully detained abroad," Jean-Pierre said.

Parts of the letter were made public through Griner's representatives according to The Associated Press. Griner wrote:

 ... 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.

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

Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Griner's wife Cherelle Griner on Saturday, Jean-Pierre said, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also spoken with Cherelle Griner recently.

Jean-Pierre also responded to comments from Griner's WNBA coach saying if she were Lebron, she would be home.

"Our commitment to seeing every single American who is held hostage, wrongfully detained, unjustly detained, that commitment is the same when it comes to our engagement with the families," Jean-Pierre said.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amina Kilpatrick
Amina Kilpatrick is an assistant engagement editor for the Newshub team distributing stories to Facebook, Twitter, third-party platforms and more.

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