WNBA star Brittney Griner was recently sentenced to nine years in Russian prison after getting detained with vape cartridges with cannabis oil in a Moscow airport in February. The United States has been working to bring Griner home and is currently in negotiations with Russia on a prisoner swap.
The initial proposal reportedly featured Brittney Griner and former Mariner Paul Whelan for Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout, who’s serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. Russia reportedly asked for another prisoner to be involved.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson said Sunday he thinks a “two-for-two” prisoner swap will free Griner at some point in the near future.
“My view is optimistic, I think she’s gonna be free. There’s gonna be a prisoner swap — I think it’s gonna be two-for-two. Can’t forget about Paul Whelan,” Richardson said in an exclusive interview with ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Richardson has been advising on the Brittney Griner case, talking to both the U.S. and Russia on the matter. He has been involved in other prisoner exchanges in the past. While he doesn’t agree with how “public” Joe Biden’s administration made this Griner situation, he’s optimistic she will ultimately be freed.
There has been a loud outpouring of support from public figures in the U.S. to free Griner, with plenty of outrage coming after the nine-year prison sentence. Griner recently pleaded guilty to the charges in order to move the process along in what was basically a show trial, but she maintains the possession of the drugs was an honest mistake and she didn’t mean to break any laws.
Hopefully, Brittney Griner will be back home soon.