Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in Moscow court on Thursday, but only after she received a note from President Biden.
U.S. Embassy officials attending the trial were able to speak to Griner and deliver a letter from Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed in a tweet following the court hearing.
“We will not relent until Brittney, Paul Whelan, and all other wrongfully detained Americans are reunited with their loved ones,” he added.
.@USEmbRu officials again attended Brittney Griner’s trial today and delivered to her a letter from President Biden. We will not relent until Brittney, Paul Whelan, and all other wrongfully detained Americans are reunited with their loved ones.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 7, 2022
Griner was in court just days after having a handwritten letter delivered to President Biden begging for urgency in her release and return to the US. She’s been detained in Russia since February after she was caught with cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage at a Moscow airport.
In her letter, Griner expressed her fear of remaining in Russian custody “forever.” CNBC reports that many are urging the government to do more toward her release.
After the hearing where Griner admitted that the cannabis canisters were hers, she said she traveled with them unintentionally.
“She was in a hurry as she was packing, and it was just by accident that it ended up in her luggage,” Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boikov said.
When asked why Griner pleaded guilty knowing she could face up to 10 years in prison, Boikov said the WNBA star is a “responsible person.”
“Considering her personality, that she is a role model to many people, to many young people — she just thinks she should be responsible for her actions,” her other lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, said.
Griner’s legal team is hoping for leniency from the court. Her latest court appearance comes after President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris contacted Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, to assure her that they are working to secure her release as fast as possible.
Boikov also noted that the basketball star “appreciated” Biden’s letter.
Cherelle has started a “Bring Brittney Home” movement that is gaining support from prominent figures and the general public who think Griner’s detainment is a sham amid Russia’s war with Ukraine.