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Former NM Gov. Bill Richardson to reportedly visit Russia to help secure Brittney Griner's release

Brittney Griner
Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 14:19:55-04

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is planning to travel to Russia in the coming weeks to help secure the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner and American Paul Whelan, ABC News and CNN report.

After a life in politics, Richardson has made it his mission to help bring Americans home.

He reportedly played a key role in a prisoner swap that led to the April release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was being held in Russia.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February. She pleaded guilty last week to drug smuggling charges, saying she mistakenly packed marijuana in her luggage.

Asked about Richardson's potential assistance, the National Security Council would only say it's been in touch with the former governor.

"We appreciate his commitment to getting Americans home and are pursuing the release of Brittney and Paul through government channels," NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson told CNN.

Whelan has been held in Russia since 2018. He was charged and convicted of espionage. Whelan has maintained his innocence.