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Biden to meet Friday with Brittney Griner’s wife

Houston Chronicle 9/15/2022 By Benjamin Wermund, Washington Bureau
FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a court room ater a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) © Alexander Zemlianichenko, STF / Associated Press

FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a court room ater a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday will meet with Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA All-Star and Houston native Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for over six months, the White House announced Thursday.

“He wanted to let them know that they remain front of mind and that his team is working on this everyday,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said the administration believes Russia is wrongfully imprisoning Griner, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, under “intolerable circumstances.”

BACKGROUND: WNBA star Brittney Griner appeals Russian prison sentence

She said the administration has been “directly engaged with Russian government” to bring Griner home to the U.S. and made a “significant offer” to Russia through the same channels it used to secure a prisoner swap to free former U.S. Marine and Texas native Trevor Reid earlier this year.

Griner was arrested in February when Russian police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport. Griner was convicted on Aug. 4 and her lawyers appealed her sentence last month.

The 31-year-old Griner played at Houston’s Nimitz High and was a standout at Baylor. She was drafted No. 1 by the Phoenix Mercury in 2013.

ben.wermund@chron.com

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