MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 27: Brittney Griner in Russian court in M

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Brittney Griner’s fight to get home continues. 

MORE: Russia Blames US Embassy For Delaying Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap Talks

On Sunday, former Gov. Bill Richardson told CNN he was  “cautiously optimistic” that Griner and  U.S. Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan could be home by next year. Richardson’s organization, which is named after the former governor, has been working behind the scenes on negotiations to release the US prisoners detained in Russia.

During the interview, Richardson said he is working with the White House and the families of Griner and Whelan and is hoping to get them home before the end of the year. 

“I know (the families are) very emotional and this is a very emotional time,” said Richardson. “All I can say is that the Biden administration is working hard on it. So am I. We coordinate but don’t always agree on every tactical decision. But I’m not going to interfere in their process. I’m just giving you my assessment after two visits to Russia on behalf of American hostages.”

Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner recently say down with Gayle King during a segment of “CBS Mornings” and talked about how traumatic this situation has been for their family. She also expressed her hopes that Brittney would be released before her upcoming appeal hearing, which is scheduled for Oct 25. Cherelle fears that Brittney could be transferred to another facility after the hearing. 

“Once that hearing is held, and the order is finalized, B.G.’s now in the position where she could be moved to a labor camp,” Cherelle told Gayle. “My brain can’t even fathom it.”

Cherelle also mentioned that Griner’s mental health was taking a serious hit.

“I don’t know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one.” 

Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport on Feb. 17. for bringing cannabis oil into the country. On Aug 4. she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. During her emotional apology, Griner plead with the court official for leniency, noting how the move was an “honest mistake,” due to packing in a hurry. 

President Joe Biden met with the family members of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan at the White House last month to reassure them they were working around the clock on the matter.

Though the White House has been tight-lipped about its negotiations with Russia they say they remain committed to getting the U.S. prisoners home.

“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,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.


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