Speed Reads

he'll 'respond soon'

Brittney Griner, facing 10 years in Russian prison, begs Biden not to 'forget about me'

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star on trial for drug trafficking in Russia, sent President Biden a handwritten letter on Monday, begging the president not to "forget about me."

"As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever," Griner wrote in an excerpt shared by her representatives.

Administration officials told NBC News on Wednesday that Biden would "certainly respond soon."

Griner, who played for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason, was arrested at an airport near Moscow on Feb. 17 after authorities allegedly discovered hashish oil in her luggage.

Griner's trial began on July 1. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, and Russia's criminal justice system has a conviction rate of more than 99 percent.

Russian news media have proposed using Griner as a bargaining chip, perhaps swapping her for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.