President Biden Meets With Brittney Griner's Wife at White House as WNBA Star Remains in Prison

One month after Britteny Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on drug charges, the WNBA star's wife Cherelle Griner met with President Joe Biden to discuss the case.

By Ashley Joy Parker Sep 17, 2022 10:55 PMTags
Watch: Brittney Griner Sentenced on Drug Charges in Russian Court

Presidential support.

On Sept. 16, President Joe Biden met with Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, as the WNBA star remains detained in Russia.

In a statement to E! News, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shared that the two met in the Oval Office, where President Biden reiterated his "continued commitment to working through all available avenues to bring Griner home safely."

That same day, Biden also met separately with Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, another American who has been detained in Russia since 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence.

"The President appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Brittney and Paul from those who love them most, and acknowledged that every minute they are being held is a minute too long," the statement read. "We all admire the courage of the Whelan and Griner families in the face of these unimaginable circumstances, and we remain committed to reuniting them with their loved ones."

Celebrities' Lives After Jail

The meetings come after earlier conversations that the president, his national security team, and the State Department have held with the detainees' families to keep them updated on efforts to secure the release of their loved ones as quickly as possible.


Back in August, Brittney was sentenced to nine years in a prison on drug charges stemming from her February arrest at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. A Russian court found the athlete guilty of drug possession and smuggling, in addition to finding her guilty of committing the crime deliberately.

Her lawyer has since filed an appeal.

After Brittney's conviction, Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Associated Press he was hopeful about the chances for a prisoner swap with Russia that would bring her and Paul home to the U.S.


Dennis Rodman is also seeking the prison release of Brittney, vowing to travel to Russia himself to make it happen.

"I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl," he told NBC News at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20. "I'm trying to go this week." 

No word if the former NBA star ever made the trip.

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