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Brittney Griner Released From Russian Captivity in Prisoner Swap

Brittney’s legal team later told E! News in a statement that they were “very disappointed” by the court’s decision and planned to file an appeal. 

“As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” they shared. “The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice. Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal.” 

Biden also shared his disappointment. “Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” he said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.” 

The president kept in touch with Brittney and wrote her a letter shortly after the athlete sent an open letter to the White House, which arrived on July 4.  

During a July 28 press conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared that the administration had “put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate” the release of Brittney and Whelan, per NBC News. “Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal, and I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally and, I hope, move us toward a resolution.” 

Throughout her time in prison, Brittney has received steadfast support from her wife Cherelle as well as fellow athletes including Stephen Curry, Megan Rapinoe and more.  

“I have to walk the fine line of harm versus help when it comes to my wife right now,” Cherelle told CBS Mornings on July 5. “So, as much as I want to advocate for her and push for our governments to do everything, I also have to take into account that she’s in a position where she could be harmed also, by any and everything I do, and so, it’s a thin line to walk.” 

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