U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is working with her lawyers to appeal a 9-year jail sentence and conviction after cannabis oil was found in her luggage on a trip to Russia.
Griner said she "does not expect miracles" when her lawyers go in for another hearing to appeal her nearly decade jail sentence, her lawyers said.
The White House confirmed some details of Oval Office meetings in recent weeks with family members of American Russia detainees Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. The two are of top focus for administration officials as they continue to be held in Russian custody.
Whelan, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, has been detained in Russia since Dec. 2018, arrested on espionage charges which he insists are "fictitious."
In April, reports of a statement he released surfaced in which he questioned why more wasn't being done to secure his release and return home to the United States.
That same month a prisoner swap between the two countries secured the release of American Trevor Reed. He had been held in Russia since 2019 after being sentenced to nine years for an alleged altercation with Russian police.
Whelan said in a statement shared by his parents, "Why was I left behind? While I am pleased Trevor is home with his family, I have been held on a fictitious charge of espionage for 40 months." He said, "The world knows this charge was fabricated. Why hasn't more been done to secure my release?"
At one of the White House meetings was Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner. Griner has been held in Russia since February on the drug-related charges. Griner was given her 9-year sentence after she pleaded guilty.
Griner's agent Lindsay Colas also attended the meeting on Griner at the White House.
The meetings were conducted separately, with the meeting regarding Whelan happening first, followed by the meeting concerning actions on Griner's case.
ESPN reported that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "A substantial offer is on the table, and they should accept it," referring to a possible deal with Russia to secure the release of the Americans.