Brittney Griner's Wife Says She Has 'Zero Trust' in U.S. Government After Botched Phone Call

by 24USATVJune 22, 2022, 6:01 a.m. 14
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The Phoenix Mercury star was detained in February after authorities allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage

Brittney Griner's Wife Says She Has 'Zero Trust' in U.S. Government After Botched Phone Call

Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Says President Biden Is the 'One Person That Can Go Get Her'

Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Says President Biden Is the 'One Person That Can Go Get Her'

Since being detained by Russian authorities in February, seven-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner has been unable to speak to her wife, Cherelle Griner.

According to the Associated Press, the Russian government approved a call last Saturday so the couple could speak on their fourth wedding anniversary. But Cherelle waited by the phone for hours, and the call never came through.

In an interview with the outlet, Cherelle claims Brittney's lawyers said her wife called a number given to her at the U.S. embassy in Moscow nearly a dozen times over "several hours."

The calls — which the couple believed would connect Brittney to Cherelle in Arizona — were never answered because the desk at the embassy where the phone rang was allegedly unstaffed on Saturday.

"I find it unacceptable, and I have zero trust in our government right now," Cherelle told AP. "If I can't trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife's behalf to come home? Because that's a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call."

Representatives for Griner and the U.S. State Department did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment on Tuesday.

Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said, "my heart breaks into pieces every time I think of it," in a post on Twitter.

"It's nothing compared to the reality [Brittney] and her family are enduring," she added.

In a statement to AP, a State Department representative said, "We deeply regret that Brittney Griner was unable to speak with her wife because of a logistical error."

Cherelle told AP a U.S. government representative has since apologized to her. The number Brittney was given typically processes calls from prisoners on Mondays through Fridays but not weekends, which is why no one was there to transfer the call, she added.

"But mind you," Cherelle said in the interview with the outlet, "this phone call had been scheduled for almost two weeks — with a weekend date."

Brittney, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow in February after vape cartridges containing hash oil were allegedly found by authorities in her luggage.

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At the time, the Russia Federal Customs Service said the WNBA star had flown to Moscow from New York when a customs service dog at the airport indicated that drugs were possibly located inside her carry-on bag. Customs officers searched the bag and allegedly found vape cartridges containing hash oil liquid.

Brittney was later taken into custody. According to the statement, she has been charged with smuggling "narcotic drugs" into the country. The basketball champion faces five to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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