Biden: Brittney Griner released in prisoner swap, on her way home

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:08 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:05 AM MST
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WASHINGTONN (KKTV) - Imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian prison in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Citing five former U.S. officials, CBS is reporting that a deal was reached one week ago and given the green light by President Joe Biden within the last few days. The prisoner swap took place Thursday morning in the United Arab Emirates.

Biden confirmed the release minutes following CBS News’ report.

Griner was detained nearly a year ago at a Russian airport for allegedly carrying cannabis-derived oil cartridges in her luggage. She later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

Retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody for four years for what the U.S. has deemed phony espionage charges, was not part of the prisoner exchange. His family said they supported the deal to free Griner, stating it was the right decision.

Biden said Thursday his administration continued to negotiate for Whelan’s release.

Bout, whose nickname is the “Merchant of Death,” was sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in a U.S. prison. More about that conviction can be read here.

Watch Biden’s remarks below:

This is a developing story; keep checking back for updates.