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Wife of Mercury star Brittney Griner calls for more action to secure release ahead of trial

The trial for the WNBA star begins Friday in Russia.

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mercury star Brittany Griner will face the toughest court she’s stepped foot in when her Russian trial begins Friday morning.

Griner will take center stage for her trial on charges of smuggling cannabis oil in her luggage.

The 31-year-old Griner has been in custody since Feb. 17 when authorities found the substance at an airport checkpoint.


Hours before Griner’s trial is set to get underway, her wife Cherelle said not enough was being done to bring the basketball star back home to the United States.

“I don’t think the maximum amount of effort is being done,” said Cherelle Griner.

Her comments came during an interview Thursday night with CNN. Cherelle Griner said she believes people are genuine in their efforts but don’t believe all avenues have been used.

She points to a phone call that she and Brittney were scheduled to have on their anniversary that never happened.   

"If you have a situation where BG can call our government the embassy 11 times and that phone call doesn't get answered you don't have my trust at that point," Cherelle said.

The U.S. State Department says Griner has been wrongfully detained.

Her arrest has sparked a wave of support worldwide.

Citizens and organizations have joined in the effort calling for her release.  

There are reports that Griner could be used in a prisoner swap, but that has not been confirmed.

Cherelle is calling on the Biden Administration to do more to secure her freedom.

She believes that Brittney is being used as a political pawn.

“I know she’s a big deal, but did I ever think she would be big enough to where someone would want her to get something else? No.

Cherelle says she has not spoken to Brittney since she was detained in February. The two talk through letters.

In an interview with Civil Rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, Cherelle said Brittney is struggling and terrified about her upcoming trial.

What will happen after Brittney’s trial is still unknown.

If convicted, Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Russia has one of the world’s highest conviction rates at 99 percent.

Unlike in the United States, people acquitted of a crime can be charged again a second time.

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